In 2007, the great furniture designer Hans J Wegner passed away. He entered this world in Tonger, Denmark, 93 years ago and over time became the most successful and noticed individual at the Danish Modern school of design. His beautiful and unobtrusive style is composed of clean and simple lines.
Hans J Wegner began his career choice as a carpenter only to have it interrupted to serve in the military. Wegner was enrolled in Copenhagen Architectural Academy as well as the School of Arts and Crafts. He trained in a technical school for a time, and received professional training. Later he worked learning from the masters Erik Moller and Arne Jacobsen.
The thing he was most proficient at was building chairs. He viewed these items not only in terms of their functionality, but as sculpture. This philosophy extended to design, such that there should be no “back” to the structure. No matter which way one gazed at the chair, it would be engaging to look at. Not only should the finished product be fluid, it should never be boring. The construction would involve a variety of shapes and parts.
He did not restrict his work to totally basic chairs, though, making intricate designs such as his “peacock” style for design competitions, and also creating some beds, cabinets and tables. He created a valet chair after using himself as the guinea pig for how it looked and how well it did the intended job. Along with his daughter, he is also considered to have invented the pole light back in the 1970’s.
Much of the furniture (wegner mobler) Hans J. Wegner is renowned for are chairs. One of his better-known designs was the wegner ch25 from 1950. He crafted four chairs with woven seats for Carl Hansen and Son, but this design was unique in having rope weaving in both the seat and the back of the chair, along with engineering that had the front legs being straight and bearing most of the load. The rear legs were angled, allowing greater stability than most other lounge chairs of its type.
Chair 25 was designed with the use of several different woods, and had a paper rope for the seat and the back of the chair. Also interesting about the design is the side of the seat, which is made from one piece that curves and becomes the back legs. Often Chair 25 is grouped with wicker furniture (mobler), as some consider it to look wicker in style, but Wegner’s design is in a league apart from flimsy wicker furnishings.
Catalogue names were given to Hans J Wegner’s work instead of design names. The PP203, for example, was an item seen by millions when used by television networks during the famous Kennedy-Nikon debates of 1960. The PP203 was chosen for its simple and clean lines, as well as being comfortable.