Hans J. Wegner 1914-2007

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Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) was a Danish cabinet maker and furniture designer. 

At the age of 18 years, Wegner is taught by the known cabinet maker H.E. Stahlberg in the Danish town Toender, which he soon mastered to perfection. 

Wegner was trained as a carpenter in 1931 and studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen from 1936-1938. In 1940-1943 he designed the furniture for e.g. Arne Jacobsen’s town hall in Aarhus. Wegner worked as an independent architect and was employed as a teacher at the Artisan School’s Furniture School. After 1940, he designed furniture for Danish companies. In addition to furniture, he drew silverware, wallpaper and several lamps. Wegner’s famous Pendant – first shown at the Cabinet Masters’ Autumn Exhibition in 1962 – is still produced by the Danish lighting manufacturer Pandul. The same applies to the entire OPALA series that Wegner originally designed for Hotel Scandinavia in Copenhagen.

In 1936 Wegner starts to study at the Academy of Arts in Denmark. In 1938 he begins working for the well-known architects Arne Jacobsen and Erik Moeller. He was hired to draw the furniture for The city Town hall in Aarhus. 

Wegner is primarily known for his chairs, such as The Chinese chair from 1944, The peacock chair from 1947, The round chair from 1949 – which became world famous when it was used in a TV debate in 1960 in the USA between Kennedy and Nixon,  The Y-chair from 1950, The Jacket’s Rest from 1953, The Pole chair from 1960 and Armchair from 1965.

Wegner, along with Finnish designer and sculptor Tapio Wirkkala, received the first Lunning Award in 1951. And in 1997, he received The 8th International Design Award, Osaka in Japan. That same year he became an honorary doctor at the Royal College of Art in London.

In Wegner’s hometown Tønder in Southern Jutland, the old water tower has been converted into a Wegner museum. On a walk up through the water tower, you are presented on the individual floors of Wegner’s furniture.