Hans J. Wegner

“A CHAIR SHOULD HAVE NO BACK SIDE. IT SHOULD BE BEAUTIFUL FROM ALL SIDES AND ANGLES”

World-renowned designer of iconic Danish chairs, Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) insisted on infusing his functional designs with a poetic and playful edge. Wegner's essential rocking chair, the J16, was designed as part of a program to popularise the idea of simple modernism led by Børge Mogensen during the 1940s in Denmark.

Hans J. Wegner is acclaimed for his chair designs that made mid-century Danish design popular on an international scale. He began his career as a cabinetmaker in 1931, subsequently studying at the Copenhagen School of Arts & Crafts. Throughout a long and productive life, Wegner designed roughly 500 chairs, many of which have become popular classics that are still in production today.

As a boy, Wegner showed a keen interest in woodcarving, and as a child he often visited the local museum to seek inspiration in the statues. Later, he set his wood carving aside, but took his fascination of wood and sculpture with him when he went on to train as a furniture maker and designer.

Wegner’s design reflects his understanding that a chair is a piece of furniture in close contact with the human body, a fact that places high demands on comfort and ergonomics. If anything, his training in furniture making further nurtured his love of wood and he has a special talent for utilising the wood grain to create surprising sculptural lines.

Wegner was the born the same year as his colleague and friend, Børge Mogensen, where they studied together at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. During the 1940’s, Wegner created a number of furniture designs for the Danish Coop FDB, where Mogensen was head of design. In this work, Wegner restricted his design to follow the rational ideas of the pioneering furniture programme. The two designers also collaborated on groundbreaking furniture exhibitions where they projected the future for Danish interior design.

Wegner's furniture is exhibited in prestigious design museums around the world, and he has received several honours and awards. The Lunning Prize in 1951 and The 8th International Design Award 1997, as well as he was appointed Honoury Doctor at the Royal College of Art in London, just to name a few.