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The driving force behind Danish Modern

Danish architect Hans J. Wegner is considered a pioneering furniture designer of the twentieth century

Among Danish furniture designers, Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) is considered one of the most creative, innovative and prolific. Often referred to as the master of the chair, Wegner designed more than 500 chairs in his lifetime – many of them considered masterpieces.

Wegner was part of the spectacular generation that created, what is today referred to as ‘the Golden Age’ of modern Danish design. “Many foreigners have asked me how we made the Danish style,” Wegner once said. “And I’ve answered that it was rather a continuous process of purification, and for me of simplification, to cut down to the simplest possible elements of four legs, a seat, and combined top rail and armrest.”

The core of Wegner’s legacy is his focus on bringing the inner workings – the soul – of the furniture to the exterior, where the simplicity and functionality can be appreciated.

The son of a cobbler, Wegner was born in 1914 in Tønder, a town in southern Denmark. He began his apprenticeship with Danish master cabinetmaker H. F. Stahlberg when he was just 14 years old. Three years later he moved to Copenhagen and attended the School of Arts and Crafts from 1936 to 1938 before setting out as a designer.

In 1940, Wegner joined architects and designers Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in Aarhus, working on furniture design for the new Aarhus City Hall. That same year, Wegner began collaborating with master cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen, who was a driving force in bringing new furniture design to the Danish public.

Wegner’s background as a cabinetmaker gave him a deep understanding of how to integrate exacting joinery techniques with exquisite form. His aesthetics were also based on a deep respect for wood and its characteristics, and a vast curiosity about other natural materials that enabled him to bring an organic, natural softness to formalistic minimalism.

Wegner established his own design office in 1943, and designed his first chair for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949. 

His CH24 chair, or the Wishbone Chair, became an immediate success and has been in production at Carl Hansen & Søn ever since.

Over the course of his career, Wegner received almost all major recognitions awarded to designers, including the Lunning Prize, the Grand Prix of the Milan Triennale, Sweden’s Prince Eugen Medal, and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ Eckersberg Medal.

Wegner was also named Honorary Doctor of the Royal College of Art and Honorary Royal Designer for Industry of the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Almost all of the world’s major design museums, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to Die Neue Sammlung in Munich, include his furniture in their collections.

Featured designs by Hans J. Wegner

Oak, Black, Natural cord
Oak, Oil, Leather Thor 301
Oak, Oil, 190x95 cm, H72 cm
Oak, Oil, Leather Sif 95
Oak, Soap, Natural cord
Oak, Oil, Arm/back: walnut, Cap: oak, Natural cord
Oak, Oil, Arm/back: walnut, Cap: oak, Natural cord
Walnut, Oil, Leather Thor 301

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When you choose a Carl Hansen & Søn product, you gain more than just a piece of furniture. You become part of a proud tradition of distinctive and beautiful craftsmanship, where nothing has been left to chance. The world’s largest manufacturer of furniture designed by Hans J. Wegner, we also produce works by renowned design masters such as Arne Jacobsen, Børge Mogensen, Ole Wanscher, Kaare Klint, Poul Kjærholm, Mogens Koch, Bodil Kjær and Tadao Ando. Carl Hansen & Søn represents over 100 years of Danish design history and our furniture is sold all over the world.  

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