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CH22 Lounge Chair

c. 1950

by Hans J. Wegner
for Carl Hansen & Søn

CH22 Lounge Chair

by Hans J. Wegner
for  Carl Hansen & Søn

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The CH22 Lounge Chair designed by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn was orig­i­nally designed in 1950 and presented in August of the same year at the Købestævnet’ exhi­bi­tion in Denmark. Manu­fac­tured to Wegner’s exact­ing orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the CH22 is a low armchair with a solid wood construc­tion, featur­ing char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally shaped armrests and a paper cord seat in what is known as an enve­lope weave. The chair’s refined joinery is evident in the finger-joined corners of the seat frame, with the forelegs locking into wooden wedges in a color contrast­ing that of the frame. The distinc­tive back shell in form-pressed veneer features oblong cover caps as a strik­ing detail. The CH22’s complex, intri­cately detailed construc­tion may explain why the lounge chair has long been out of production. 

Today, while parts of the produc­tion process have been modern­ized, the chair is still manu­fac­tured as it was more than six decades ago – that is, with excel­lent hand crafts­man­ship, from assem­bly through the surface treat­ment and seat weaving.

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Credit: Carl Hansen and Søn

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Hans J. Wegner

Denmark (1914–2007)

If Danish modernism is best known and beloved for the use of traditional techniques to emphasize materiality—graceful curves honoring the grain of fine walnut, for example—that’s thanks in large part to Hans J. Wegner. Born in southern Denmark, at 14 Wegner began an apprenticeship with Danish master cabinetmaker H. F. Stahlberg, where he honed a preternatural talent and learned skills he’d bring to bear throughout a career lasting some eighty years and full of design masterpieces.

While studying at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, Wegner worked for Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller on a range of furniture for the Aarhus City Hall. Four years after graduation, he had showcased a chair at the Copenhagen Museum of Art and Industry, and opened his own firm. Sculptural, surprisingly comfortable seating became Wegner’s trademark: for Fritz Hansen, the floating Chinese chairs; for Carl Hansen & Sons, he designed the instant classic Wishbone, Shell, and Elbow chairs; for PP Møbler, the cozy Papa Bear, iconic Round, and buoyant Circle chairs; and countless others, most still in production.

Wegner retired in 1993 and died fourteen years later, but his work lives on in its ubiquity across residential, hospitality, and corporate design—not to mention the Museum Sønderjylland’s permanent exhibition of the three dozen chairs he felt were his very best in a water tour in his hometown of Tønder.

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