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BENNI ALLAN

Founder of award-winning studio Ebba Architects in London, Benni Allan, works on projects in the cultural, arts, fashion, and housing sectors. In particular, he enjoys projects that can have a meaningful impact and contribute to both people and society. At the same time, he is interested in creating work that is thoughtfully conceived and highly ambitious, always aiming for the highest standard. We spoke to him about his upbringing in Spain, the past and the present in terms of his work and why he describes the Wegner CH111 chair as ‘a piece of designed engineering’.

“I’m very conscious of our impact on the world as architects and how we need to respond positively.”

“The chairs designed by Hans Wegner are some of the most recognisable objects in the world. I like the CH111 chair because it feels like a piece of designed engineering. It combines the qualities of a very functional chair with a minimalist elegance.”

CH111 | Chair

Leather Thor 301

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WHO ARE YOU?

I’m an architect, designer, and maker with a keen interest in creating work that is meaningful and can help to improve people’s lives. My work has always been at the juncture of architecture and the visual arts, and more recently moving into objects and furniture. I was brought up in Spain surrounded by the sea and mountains, as well as somewhere that was predominantly hot and dry. This feels like it has given me an appreciation for materials that appear solid and textured. That connection to materials and form comes through in a lot of the work I do. 

 

  

IN WHICH WAYS DO YOU RELATE TO THE PAST WHEN YOU WORK WITH INTERIOR AND ARCHITECTURE?

I believe that every project starts through an investigative approach to studying the site and the context. Its history helps to establish a narrative that can guide the overall concept of a project. I appreciate projects that can bring together the qualities of the past and the present in a sympathetic way. 

 

I enjoy creating spaces that feel expansive and flexible, for the multitude of activities that happen within a space. Architecture should be the backdrop of our lives and we should be living with less. I like the character of a space to be dictated by light and a few considered objects. I have been thinking a lot about how I can deliver more with less. I’m very conscious of our impact on the world as architects and how we need to respond positively. In a mass consumer society, I like to think about how the things we produce, whether a building or an object, can stand the test of time. 

 

 

HANS J. WEGNER IS KNOWN FOR HIS ORGANIC FUNCTIONALISM. IN WHICH WAYS DO YOU SEE A CONNECTION TO WEGNER IN WHAT YOU DO?

I am drawn to things that are rigorous yet simple in their expression, and I like things that have a clear logic of how they are put together. In my work I enjoy finding the balance between something that is bold and equally carefully crafted. Like Wegner, I like to make things that are quietly provocative. 

 

The chairs designed by Wegner are some of the most recognisable objects in the world. I like the CH111 chair because it feels like a piece of designed engineering. It combines the qualities of a very functional chair with a minimalist elegance. The single leg that twists is a very subtle yet incredibly clever part of the chair’s design. They are distinguished by their clear yet effortless forms. His work stands out as being not only beautiful but incredibly comfortable, and able to adapt to various settings, from homes through to gallery spaces. 

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 the museum with Anne-Louise Sommer

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. Explore Design Museum Danmark after closing hours with Anne-Louise Sommer.

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