2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the renowned Danish furniture designer Hans J. Wegner’s birth. To celebrate the occasion Wegner will be the subject for a forthcoming Design Talk at ikonhouse.
Among Danish furniture designers, Hans J. Wegner is considered one of the most creative and productive. He is often referred to as the master of the chair – having designed more than 500. Many of these are considered masterpieces and continue to be collector’s items around the world. See image gallery here.
Come and join us for this next Design Talk about the life and work of Hans J. Wegner
We have invited the CEO of Carl Hansen & Son Knud Erik Hansen to come and talk about Wegner. Carl Hansen & Son is the main manufacturer of Wegner’s furniture and Knud Erik knew Hans J. Wegner on a personal level. Wegner had a major influence on what Carl Hansen & Son is today. When they started manufacturing of Wegner’s designs Wegner stayed with Knud Erik’s family for several weeks to participate in preparations for starting production.
At this Design Talk you can expect behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes from back in the days when Wegner was just a cabinet maker and not yet the design legend he is known as today.
This Design Talk is a unique opportunity to hear the stories you can’t hear or read anywhere else.
Wegner was part of the generation who created the wave of Danish Modern Design:
“I have often been asked how we created the Danish Modern style. And I have to say that it was nothing like that – creating.... it was rather a continuous process of purification, and for me of simplification, to cut down to the simplest possible elements of four legs, a seat and combined top rail and arm rest.”
The core of his legacy is this focus on bringing the inner workings – the soul – of the furniture to the outside, where the simplicity and functionality can be seen in all its beauty. This is the reason why so many of his designs are not only reserved as museums pieces but used and enjoyed every day and passed down through generations.
Hans J. Wegner's contributions to design:
A master cabinet maker first and a designer second: Perfectly finished joints and exquisite forms.
A deep respect for the wood and its character and an everlasting curiosity about good materials.
He gave minimalism an organic and natural softness.
He is considered as "the master chair-maker" and designed more than 500 chairs during the course of his life
"We must be careful that everything doesn't get so dreadfully serious. We must play - but we must play in a serious way!" - Hans J. Wegner
Wegner was a unique character, playful and serious and certainly talented. Wegner has received a number of prizes and recognitions. Amongst other things, he is an honorary member of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London. He was also the first ever recipient of the Lunning Prize and received the 8th International Design Award in Osaka, Japan. His works are exhibited at major international museums including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and Die Neue Sammlung in Munich.
Knud Erik Hansen
Owner and President, Carl Hansen & Son
In 1949, my father, Holger Hansen, began a lifelong collaboration with Danish designer Hans J. Wegner. At that time, our little family-owned business, Carl Hansen & Søn, was making bespoke furniture that was popular in Denmark but unknown to the international design community. Luckily, Kold Christensen, the company’s sales manager, was keeping a close eye on the new breed of Danish designers emerging in the 1940s. He was particularly impressed by the work of Hans J. Wegner, who was an acclaimed designer but was relatively unknown outside certain circles. My father and Christensen approached Wegner in the late 1940s and this was the beginning of a new design era for Carl Hansen & Søn.
Many of Wegner’s pieces for Carl Hansen & Søn have since been established as icons of 20th-century design. The Wishbone Chair, for example, has been in continuous production since its 1949 release. Yet not all of Wegner’s designs were accepted with such immediate regard.