Hans J. Wegner
Hans J. Wegner, born April 2nd, 1914 was one of Denmark’s most prolific and original furniture designers. Wegner’s work represents his time era, and all the brilliant craftsmanship and engagement it took to create his designs, as it was a puristic depiction of the tastes, modernity, and functionality that made those decades unique. The mid-century Danish style that he made his own, made him renowned throughout the world, and made his works equally popular. He knew how t
o take the simplest of material and forged it into something practical, although people agree that his works does belong in a minimalist arena. He rose to fame because of expertise and skills with his chair designs that were seen as very fine craftsmanship indeed.
Wegner was born to a cobbler father, and started working early as a child carpenter apprentice. He later served in the military, then he went on to start a academic career firstly at the technical college then the School of Arts and Crafts, and afterwards the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen. Early on he displayed his love for the simplistic aspect of design as his 1937 design of an exquisite armchair with sloping armrests clearly shows his unique approach of undressing older chairs of all the outer glamour and making appear in their true construction. In his mid years he actually worked for another of Denmark’s premier designer and architect Arne Jacobsen. He was in charge of the furniture at Jacobsen’s project the Aarhus Municipal Hall, and after some years later he left Jacobsen in order to start his own furniture company.
PP Møbler and Carl Hansen & Son essentially produced his chair designs. He became very close to PP Møbler in his later years, as they still produce most of his furniture to this day. The chairs were made with modernist image that any single one of pieces can stand by themselves and not part of a set. Hans gained almost every major honours or awards that are given to designers including the Lunnning prize (1951), the Grand Prix of the Milan Triennale (1951), the Prince Eugen medal from Sweden, and the Danish Eckersberg medal. He was also made honourary Royal designer for industry by the prestigious Royal Society of Arts in London.
With his works he always mixed up the elegance and the amusement as he created very unique furniture, each with their own practicality and sense of humour built right into the chair. Some of his most famous works include; the Peacock chair, Wishbone/ Y chair, Flag Haylard chair, Hoop/ Circle chair, Papa Bear chair, The Chair, Chinese chair (models 1944-45), Ox chair, Wing chair, Shell chair, Valet chair, Pole lamp (with his daughter Marianne), and he designed furniture for FDB along with a colleague. Those were just a portion of his attention grabbing, unrivaled designs, as he has designed over 500 pieces in his lifetime that caught the imagination of everyone.
He worked continuously throughout his life, designing amazing concepts and fun ideas, only stopping a decade or so before his death. He died on January 26th 2007, and his legacy and furniture designs are a continuous part of over 25 different museums all over the world including the Museum of Modern Art in N.Y., and the Die Neue Samlung in Munich. He was a brilliant talent with a flair for style, and legacy does carry on with the countless souls he has inspired to become great.