for Carl Hansen & Søn
The CH26 Armchair designed by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn design dates back to 1950 but the chair had never been produced, and no mockup existed – only the original sketches. The CH26’s striking similarity to the CH22 lounge chair by the same designer is evident in the armrests and the characteristic, sweeping form of the armrest supports. Because Wegner intended for the CH26 to serve as a dining or desk chair, he gave serious consideration to the chair’s proportions and its height in relation to tables, adjusting the CH26’s frame and seat structure to enhance strength and stability. The CH26 design has now finally come to life, manufactured in exact accordance with Wegner’s original, hand-drawn sketches, the only exception being two extra centimeters that have been added to the chair’s height to accommodate today’s higher tables and people. Common to both the CH22 and CH26 are excellent ergonomics, a robust construction, and the characteristically shaped elements, which result in a distinctive appearance that expresses the extent to which every detail has been thought through.
Credit: Carl Hansen & Søn
CHS Passionate Craftmanship
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.