Hans J. Wegner
Hans J. Wegner was born in Tondern in 1914, and became one of Denmark’s most influential designers during his lifetime. He has often been called the master chair designer and designed over 500 chairs during his lifetime. The essence of Wegner's design is a focus on integrating the inner workings, the soul of the man, with the outer workings of the design, where functionality and simplicity can be appreciated.
Wegner set high standards for comfort and ergonomics. For him chairs weren’t just pieces of furniture but works of art designed to adapt to the human body. Wegner began his career as a cabinetmaker and, because of his keen interest in design, moved to Copenhagen and trained at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts. Subsequently, he also trained as an architect.
In 1940, Wegner began working with Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in Århus, where they designed Århus City Hall, Jacobsen and Møller being responsible for the architecture and Wegner for the furnishings.
In 1943, Wegner founded his own design studio, where he produced the popular Wishbone Chair, also known as the Y-chair. The chair, with its angled seat, is typical of Wegner's stylish designs in wood. Today the chair is classified as a design icon and is frequently seen in both Scandinavian and international homes. Other classics designed by Wegner include the Smiling Chair and the Sawbuck Chair. Wegner had a long collaboration with Danish manufacturer Carl Hansen & Søn, which still produces his popular works today.
Wegner has been awarded a number of prizes and distinctions, including the Lunning Prize, the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennial and the Prince Eugene Medal. In 1995 he became an honorary member of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Today, Hans J. Wegner's work is included in nearly all of the world's major design museums, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to Die Neue Sammlung in Munich.