Born: 1914 - Died: 2007
Hans J. Wegner, Hans Jørgensen Wegner, was a Danish furniture designer. Hans J. Wegner qualified as a cabinet maker in 1931, and in 1938 he completed his training as a furniture designer in the College of Arts and Crafts.
In 1940, he joined the drawing office of Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller, during the construction of Århus Town Hall. In 1943, Hans J. Wegner set up his own drawing office in Århus, and then moved it to Copenhagen in 1946.
Hans J. Wegner’s work, which includes more than 500 chairs, was a lifelong quest to understand the nature of wood, and exploit its opportunities. His design is characterized by an expressive and sculptural functionalism.
In the early 1940s, Wegner reinterpreted several older types of chairs, for example Windsor chairs and china chairs, which gradually got rid of the stylistic details, and added a modern elegance. Cooperation with cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen, led to a number of furniture, that was shown at the annual Carpentry Guild exhibitions.
In 1949, they presented the round chair, a simple and comfortable development of china chairs. It attracted international attention, when it was used in a TV duel between the US presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon 1961. The foreign press referred to it as the world’s most beautiful chair, and named it The Chair; This was the beginning of Danish Designs international breakthrough.
Hans J. Wegner combined craftsmanship and industrial production techniques, and made industrial design for a number of Danish furniture manufacturers. He also worked in steel, and decorated a number of institutions and companies, and designed cutlery and lighting etc., eg The Pendant (1962) and Opala series, which was designed in the 1970s, for Hotel Scandinavia in Copenhagen. Like many of Wegner’s furniture, they are still in production.
Among Hans J. Wegner’s numerous honors are Lunning Prize in 1951, Eckersberg Medal in 1956 and the Prince Eugen Medal in 1961.