26/12/2022

Hans Wegner and Why We Love Him

Undoubtedly one of the most well-known and innovative Danish furniture designers the world has ever known.

Without a question, one of the most well-known and creative Danish furniture designers in history is Hans Wegner. Hans Wegner's work is now widely available, including in New York (Museum of Modern Art), Munich (Die Neue Sammlung), and Copenhagen (Designmuseum Danmark). His sleek and clean design is still prevalent in many spaces. The "wishbone chair" is arguably one of his most well-known designs. Hans Wegner saw it as his mission to show that a piece of furniture has a soul, and tried to portray this through a simple and functional exterior.

Wegner’s Life in a Nutshell

Hans Wegner was born in 1914 in Denmark and already at an early age he showed interest in arts and crafts; woodcarving and creating wooden sculptures. At the age of 14, he started working for the Danish cabinetmaker H. F. Stahlberg. Later, he attended Copenhagen's School of Arts and Crafts. He began designing with Arne Jacobsen in 1938, and it was also during this time that he began working with Johannes Hansen.

The Master of the Chair’, which is fitting as he created almost 500 throughout his career, such as the ‘Papa Bear’, ‘Round’, and ‘The Chair’

He had learned from Stahlberg how to incorporate joinery techniques while still preserving a lovely appearance. His fascination with many types of wood and other raw materials aided in the development of his ability to provide organic, natural softness to minimalist design.

Wegner established his own design business in 1943, working with Carl Hansen & Son to create a variety of seats, including the well-known "wishbone chair. His nickname is ‘The Master of the Chair’, which is fitting as he created almost 500 throughout his career, such as the ‘Papa Bear’, ‘Round’, and ‘The Chair’.

Our Personal Hans Wegner Favourites

1. 'Heart' Dining Chairs, Model FH4103, for Fritz Hansen, 1950s

The FH4103 chairs were initially created by Hans Wegner in the 1950s and produced by Fritz Hansen before being offered by Story's of Kensington in London. The FH4103 chairs, made of an oak frame and veneered teak wood, are commonly referred to as "heart" chairs because of their shape. The chairs have flat wooden seats and curving backrests that enable stacking. They have three triangular-shaped legs. These chairs feature an iconic Mid-Century design and are ideal for a modern dining area or kitchen. They can also be stacked for storage to save space.

Heart Chair - photo by Muk van Lil

2. Model JH510 ‘Dolphin’ Chair for Johannes Hansen, 1950s

Dolphin Chair

With an average selling price of over $100.000, the Dolphin chair can be considered one of the rarest designer pieces that Wegner ever created. This unique design captures the motion and energy of a dolphin swimming in the ocean, hence its nickname. The chair rests on an oak frame, with cane-weaved seating and backrest, and includes brass details.

3. Fauteuil GE 265 For Getama, 1980s

Although a mystery, it is said that Getama is one of the oldest furniture manufacturers in all of Denmark. Wegner was delighted to have Getama as a partner capable of producing his designs for the larger mid-range market - complementing his relationship with high-quality, artisanal ateliers such as Johannes Hansen.  

Fauteuil GE 265 for Getama