Hans Wegner, Master Chairmaker
Profile of a historical master of furniture design and his legendary chairs.
Originally published 3/1/1980.
After World War II, a revolution in the design of furniture radically altered the style of home furnishings. A new wave of light, functional furniture using an exposed framework of naturally finished woods found a ready market. These modern designs possessed a freshness and homogeneity that encouraged free choice. The old reliance on matched living, dining and bedroom suites gave way as people began selecting pieces of furniture on the basis of individual merit and functional suitability. Denmark was the center of this revolution, led by a handful of designers-Finn Juhl, Borge Mogensen, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen. Its impact was international, and Denmark, an agricultural economy before the war, experienced a tremendous surge in furniture exports: 3 million kroner in 1950; 146 million kroner in 1960; 725 million kroner in 1973 . By 1978, Danish furniture exports had reached an astonishing 1,566 million kroner.
From the standpoint of the range and quality of his extraordinary productivity, the…