An icon of mid-century Danish design, Hans Jørgensen Wegner (1914–2007) was a pioneer of the modernist style often described as ‘organic functionality’—a Scandanavian school of thought equally epitomised by the work of Poul Henningsen, Alvar Aalto, and Arne Jacobsen.
Early in his career, Wegner described his method as “stripping the old chairs of their outer style and letting them appear in their pure construction.” He was first employed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller, and later estabished his own studio, producing designs for manufacturers Getama, AP Stolen, Johannes Hansen, Andreas Tuck, Ry Mobler, Fredericia Stolefabrik, Carl Hansen and Sons, Fritz Hansen, Erik Jorgensen and, in later years, PP Møbler.
Wegner designed more than 500 chairs in his lifetime, refining an approach that combined a variety of natural materials and pushed traditional joinery techniques to extreme tolerances and distillations.
A primary contributor to the international popularity of mid-century Danish design, Wegner was most renowned for his ‘Round’ chair (1949)—later known simply as ‘The Chair’—which starred in the 1961 presidential debates between Nixon and Kennedy. Other iconic Wegner designs include the Plank Chair, Easy Chair, Peacock Chair, Windsor Chair and Wishbone Chair. He famously said of his work: “I have always wanted to make unexceptional things of an exceptionally high quality.”
GE290 High Back Plank Chair by Hans Wegner for Getama in Oak and Maroon Upholstery, 1953, Denmark