CH22 Lounge Chair
for Carl Hansen & Søn
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.
Credit: Carl Hansen and Søn
Hans J. Wegner
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.