‘CH24 Wishbone Chair’, 1949/2021
FRIDAY, 2ND APRIL 2021, is the 107th birthday of Hans Wegner (1914-2007), one of a handful of designers who together defined the ‘Golden Age’ of modern Danish design. Wegner’s triumph was to persist quietly, over seven decades, in transforming the domestic interiors of his nation, whilst contributing to the allure of Danish modernism abroad. He married an aesthetics of pared back simplicity to a sensuous appreciation of his primary material, wood, and a deep understanding of the techniques of joinery.
Born in 1914 in Tønder, the son of a shoemaker, Wegner started his creative journey, aged fourteen, as an apprentice to Danish master cabinetmaker H. F. Stahlberg. He moved on to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, studying there from 1936-1938, before taking further studies as an architect. In 1938 the renowned architects and designers Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller approached Wegner and invited him to design the furniture for the new Aarhus City Hall, a major landmark of Danish modernism. Simultaneously, Wegner began his fruitful collaboration with master cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen, who was a champion of new furniture design. By now established, in 1943 he set up his own design studio and in 1944 he designed his first ‘China Chair’, in a series inspired by the Chinese Emperor’s thrones.
Above all, Wegner was a designer of chairs, creating almost 500 in his lifetime. Perhaps the most famous is this ‘CH24 Wishbone Chair’, first designed in 1949, and produced continuously since 1950 at Carl Hansen & Søn’s factory in Funen, Denmark. One of the earliest models that Wegner designed exclusively for the company, the chair is constructed from fourteen parts, achieving an elegant simplicity through exceptional craftsmanship, involving over 100 separate stages, while its seat is woven by hand from 120 metres of paper cord.
In Wegner’s honour, each year Carl Hansen & Søn create a special limited edition of this iconic model. This year’s version will be produced in certified mahogany, an exotic wood well known for its deep, uniform colour, and prized in furniture making since the 16th century. The lightness of the design contrasts with the rich reddish-brown of the high gloss lacquered wood, defining this model as a classic.
“Many foreigners have asked me how we created the Danish style,” Wegner once said. “And I’ve answered that it was a continuous process of purification and of simplification – to cut down to the simplest possible design of four legs, a seat, and a combined back- and-armrest.”
This limited edition of the ‘CH24 Wishbone Chair’ in high-gloss lacquered mahogany can only be purchased on Thursday, 8th April 2021 (or pre-ordered 1st-7th April).
Recommended retail price £737 excl. VAT.