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ANNE-LOUISE SOMMER

Anne-Louise Sommer has been director at Design Museum Danmark for many years, and she loves walking through the museum outside opening hours. She enjoys the collection of Japanese sword hand guards and is particularly fond of chair design – including the numerous designs by Hans J. Wegner. Few people know as much as she does about the golden age of Danish design and the stories hidden in each backrest, armrest or chair leg.

 

“Our home is a sanctuary of comfort and belonging. It's where cherished memories are woven into the fabric of everyday life.”

“It’s an inherent human need to experience materials and craftsmanship in a close and sensuous way.”

CH07 | Shell Chair

oak, oil, Leather Thor 301

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WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?

Taking part in informing people about design, and in so doing helping them to learn more about the value of good design and its potential, and the extent to which design can help create better environments for living and working. Quietly contemplating the amazing exhibitions as I walk through the museum after closing time fills me with happiness.

 

 

WHICH COLLECTION AT THE MUSEUM DO YOU LIKE MOST?

I’m very fond of our collection of Japanese sword hand guards, the so-called tsubas. The fashioning of the round disc that sits between the blade and the handle is a Japanese tradition that stretches back more than 1,000 years, and the tsubas were often of exquisite quality and decorated with family hallmarks or symbols from nature. For me, they encapsulate the three pillars of design: Superb craftsmanship, an artistic dimension as well as a narrative element.

 

 

 

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE GOLDEN AGE OF DANISH DESIGN IN THE 1950S AND 60S? 

High standards of craftsmanship, an eminent command of materials and a strong yet understated artistic dimension. In addition, a democratic and human starting point that emerged from the Danish welfare society. It’s an inherent human need to experience materials and craftsmanship in a close and sensuous way.

 

 

HOW IS WEGNER’S DESIGN RELEVANT TODAY?

Wegner’s approach was essentially humanistic and down to earth in terms of people’s needs – such as the way in which a chair receives one’s body. It might also be the inclusion of artisanal details, where you feel that a little extra has gone into enhancing the practical aspects of the design or the inclusion of an artistic dimension: That there is suddenly more to it than functionality and build quality – that it is simply beautiful. I believe Wegner designed almost 500 chairs in the course of his working life, which is quite an achievement. He was a modest man who once said that all the chairs he had designed over the years were driven by the simple desire to create just one good chair. His output reflects his impressive productivity, discipline, and solidity. 

 

 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT WEGNER’S LIFE AND WORK THAT ONLY A FEW OTHERS KNOW? 

I once heard a funny story about Wegner and Børge Mogensen who studied together and were lifelong friends and close colleagues. Rumour has it that Mogensen loved whisky while Wegner preferred buttermilk. I think that says a lot about the two and is also reflected in their furniture.

A TRIBUTE TO HANS J. WEGNER

At home with Kevin Kafesu

To honor the 110th anniversary of Hans J. Wegner, Carl Hansen & Søn presents a celebratory series of home visits with makers, thinkers and creators all having Wegner as a clear reference in both living and working. Step inside the playful family home of Kevin Kafesu.

A TRIBUTE TO HANS J. WEGNER

At work with Benni Allan

To honor the 110th anniversary of Hans J. Wegner, Carl Hansen & Søn presents a celebratory series of home visits with makers, thinkers and creators all having Wegner as a clear reference in both living and working. Visit Benni Allan at the architecture and design practice EBBA studios.

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