Mid-Century architecture and furnishings are a hallmark of American society. It’s reminiscent of a time in this country marked by great change in all aspects of life. It’s funny to look back on this design movement because the typical mid-century homes (ranch, split-level) were built because of a high demand after World War II. They were built extremely quickly and usually cut corners to build as many as possible for growing families. So while it was originally a low-end design, it soon became a time of exceptionally crafted furniture. Leading to our main man- Hans Wegner.
Hans Wegner was a from a small town in Southern Denmark but always had the ambition to be a world-renown furniture designer. He started an apprenticeship at the age of of 14, built his first chair at the age of 17, then went completed his education at multiple schools in the Nordic area. He had the opportunity to work under the notable Arne Jacobsen scpefically designing the interior for the Aarhus City Hall in Denmark. By 1949, he began designing and constructing custom piece for Johannes Hansen, the co-founder of Carl Hansen & Son. That year he designed four of his most iconic pieces, shown in the image below. His most iconic piece, however, has to be the “Round Chair.” It was featured on the cover of American Interiors Magazine where they called it, “the world’s most beautiful chair.” Ten years later, it happened to be the chairs that Kennedy and Nixon sat in during America’s first televised, and most famous, presidential debate. We all remember, whether we were there or learned about it in history classes, that Kennedy showed off his charm and personable qualities during this debate. Relaxed and handsome, many historians believe he won mostly because of his appearance and demeanor alone in this debate. What many people don’t know, however, is that Kennedy actually requested Wegner’s “Round Chair” because he had back issues from WWII, and this chair was one that he felt the most comfortable in. So you can even say, he portrayed himself so elegantly because he had “the world’s most beautiful chair” to sit in.
1. Web Chair // 2. Round Chair // 3. Ox Chair // 4. Easy Chair // 5. Shell Chair // 6. Wishbone Chair // 7. Wing Chair // 8. Flag Halyard Chair // 9. Butterfly Easy Chair // 10. Bar Bench // 11. Circle Chair // 12. Gettema Easy Chair
These designs helped to define the mid-century movement and will always be considered stylish classics. With all the replicas out there, and no judgement if that’s what some people choose, there is no comparison in the quality of Hans Wegner’s pieces.