During recent years, there have been few to equal Wegner's ability to create a synthesis in his designs between functional brilliance and a natural and untheoretical elegance.
Svend Erik Møller
The Chair debuted in the Johannes Hansen booth at the 1950 Cabinetmaker’s Guild Exhibition in Copenhagen. Esteemed for its beauty, craftsmanship and form, The Chair (also known as “The Round Chair”) is one of Wegner’s most iconic seating designs.
The furniture exhibited by Johannes Hansen included some chairs which were probably the best to be shown at the exhibition. The back rail and arm rests were meticulously joined... They were simple, pleasing and comfortable.
Designs from the Container Corporation of America
This set of chairs comes from the Container Corporation of America's Eastern Regional Headquarters building in Oaks, Pennsylvania. They were part of the original decor of the building, which opened in 1960 and was designed by Herbert Bayer with Pace Associates. The building has changed hands several times since CCA left the offices in the mid-1980s and it is currently slated to be demolished, as it has fallen into disrepair. Iconic mid-century designs were chosen to outfit the office's interiors to be in line with the modernist vision CCA and Bayer were instrumental in building.
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.