THE SUNDAY CLASSICS: HANS WEGNER
Born in 1914 and passing away in 2007, Hans Wegner is the epitome of Danish chair design. His work is internationally recognised, marrying form and function perhaps better than any other chair designer the world over. Wegner was a perfectionist in many ways and as much as he loved design and his imagination flowed, ergonomics and human comfort were, and still are, of paramount importance.
The young Hans Wegner started out as a child apprentice to a cabinetmaker, his love for furniture with attention to detail and creativity without functionality being compromised was instilled at a young age. His affinity to wood, working with the grain and bringing it to life soon became his passion and trademark making a Hans Wegner chair timeless masterpieces of functional art, or simply perfect chairs.
From 1944 until the present day Hans Wegner chairs are functional art, there is no real way to define them. One man’s passion, the tree that remains alive in the wood and combination of ideas for the seats are what make a Hans Wegner chair something special. Whether it is his classic, 1944, J16 Rocking chair, stood alone under a bay window with the spring breeze filling the room, or if it is a wishbone chair around a modern family dining table (still made from only the best solid wood) , a Hans Wegner chair is something beautiful. Classically designed, still made today by hand as Wegner insisted, and yet stylish for modern times, one or some of these pieces talks to those in the room.
Wegner not only showed of the magnificence of creative design, his chairs become used-every-day works of art, solid, robust and elegant, but he demonstrated functionality. He knew what people wanted from a chair and how they would use it, not always for sitting. His Valet chair, designed in 1953, had a purpose with the backrest being designed in a manner, with enough height to hang a gentleman’s jacket, with his trousers over the edge of the seat and his other garments stored inside. An original from the 1950s is a rare piece and today would perhaps serve more as a novelty than as a chair itself. Wegner, would not be too disappointed by this as he loved to play but he did once say “we must play, but we ,must play seriously”
Having a Wegner chair in any room adds something classical to the space, one can almost feel the Hans Christian Andersenfairy tales coming to life as the Danish design settles in. There are so many wooden chairs to choose from today with many inspired by Hans Wegner but nothing beats the real thing. Solid wood, handcrafted, natural materials and something that just says “I was made for you” is the legacy of Hans Wegner what makes his furniture so magical in any interior design.
Until the day he died, Hans Wegner had an affinity with his chairs, to him they were like people and with one in your home, you will soon begin to appreciate why.