CH36 Dining Chair
for Carl Hansen & Søn
This 1962 design demonstrates the influence American Shaker furniture principles and craftsmanship had on Hans J. Wegner’s work. The simple and functional design of the Ch36 Dining chair is crafted with great attention to detail. Its legs taper off slightly towards the floor and in the rear towards the top. The top backrest is significantly more curved than the bottom, a component designed to optimize back support. The chair is finished with a double-woven paper cord seat. On the whole, Ch36 is as comfortable to sit in as it is beautiful to behold.
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.