This design first debuted at the 1953 Copenhagan Cabinetmaker's Guild Exhibition, which ran annually from 1927 to 1966, highlighting the best in Danish furniture. Hans J. Wegner presented a one-room flat, furnished with pieces in pine, oak and teak, produced by the great cabinetmaker, Johannes Hansen. 

Johannes Hansen showroom, designed by Wegner, at the 1953 Cabinetmaker's Guild Exhibition

The exhibition's finest interior and best pieces of furniture were undoubtedly made by Hans J. Wegner... The dining table, with metal supports for the leaves, was a novelty... Wegner's furniture is characterized by a distinctive wholeness and peacefulness, and this is also true of his interiors. Moreover, one should notice the economy of expression which is typical of his work as well as his exceptional understanding of materials.

Erik Wørts

Hans J. Wegner 1914–2007

Hans J. Wegner was born in Tønder, Denmark in 1914. As a teenager, Wegner apprenticed with master cabinetmaker H.F. Stahlberg before enrolling at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in 1936. In 1940, Wegner teamed with Arne Jacobson and Erik Møller to design furniture for the newly built City Hall building in Aarhus, Denmark. In 1943, Wegner opened his own drafting studio. Wegner insisted on the highest standard of craftsmanship for his furniture, and his chairs often feature traditional mortise and tenon joints and unique materials such as paper cord.

Wegner’s famed China series (inspired by the imperial Chinese chairs from the Ming dynasty) was designed in 1949. That same year he introduce what is probably his most iconic seating design, The Chair at the Cabinetmakers Guild exhibition in Copenhagen. In 1951, his chairs were featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s famous Good Design exhibit. His chairs reached a national audience in 1960 when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon sat in them during the televised presidential debate. In 1971, Wegner was awarded the Diploma di Collaborazione at the Milano Triennale. Wegner created his innovative three-legged stacking chair known as the PP58 in 1988. In 1992, he retired from his firm and his daughter Marianne took over his practice. Wegner died in 2007.

In 2014, the Design Museum of Denmark honored Wegner with a retrospective of his work. Wegner’s furniture designs are held in the collections across the globe and can be found in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert in London, and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, among many others.

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