Hans J. Wegner1914 — 2007
Hans Wegner is one of the most well-known and celebrated Danish designers who managed to strike a balance between the modernist aesthetic and the craft tradition of woodworking. Wegner received an honorary doctoral degree from the Royal College of Arts in London, gained golden and silver medals from the Triennale di Milano and a golden medal from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. “The Master of chairs”, he created more than 500 designs. Many of these became iconic design pieces, including the Wishbone chair, Ox, Shell, Teddy Bear chairs, and the Runde Stol, also known as the Chair with the capital C.
1935. Wegner attends a furniture design course in the Technological Institute in Copenhagen to enter the Danish School of Arts and Crafts.
1936-1938. Wegner attends the Danish School of Arts and Crafts.
1938. His first involvement in the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibitions.
1938-1940. Wegner is employed in the architectural studio of Erik Møller and Flemming Lassen.
1939-1942. Wegner begins to work in the architectural studio of Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller. He is involved in the project of the Aarhus City Hall and designs furniture for the project (it was produced by I.C.A Nielsen and Planmøbel). Wegner begins to collaborate with cabinetmakers: Michael Laursen in Aarhus and Johannes Hansens Møbelsnedkeri in Copenhagen.
1943. Hans Wegner opens his own studio in Aarhus together with fellow architect Børge Mogensen.
1946-1953. Wegner teaches at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts.
1949. The designer creates the Runde Stol – a piece which brought fame to Wegner on both sides of the Atlantic and became known as the Chair with the capital C. The model gains both the prize of the jury and the audience award at the Good Design Show at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The American TV-channel CBS purchases a dozen of the Chairs, and its glory hour happens in 1960, when John Kennedy and Richard Nixon sit on two of them during the TV debates held as part of the presidential campaign.
1951. Wegner receives the prestigious Lunning prize.
1958. UNESCO commissions Wegner to design lighting for its office in Paris.
1962-1965. Along with architects Arne Karlsen and Allan Jessen, Wegner builds his own home. In 1969 he receives an award from the Gentofte commune, where the house is located.
1993. The Museum of Hans J. Wegner opens in Tønder. The collection includes 35 chairs donated by the designer and his wife. Wegner becomes an honorary member of the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild. Around 2500 sketches and drawings were left after the designer’s death.
Hans Wegner collaborated with Getama, AP Stolen, Johannes Hansen, Andreas Tuck, Ry Mobler, Fredericia Stolefabrik, Carl Hansen & Sons, Fritz Hansen, PP Mobler, Erik Jorgensen and others. His works are included in the collections of many museums: Die Neue Sammlung in Munich, MoMA, New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris.