OW149 Colonial Chair
for Carl Hansen & Søn
The OW149 Colonial Chair designed by Olé Wanscher for Carl Hansen & Søn is without a doubt his most signature design. Recently reintroduced along with the Colonial sofa and the Colonial coffee table, the launch restores the Colonial as a furniture series in which Wanscher’s minimalist, functional approach is at the center of a complete story told through a unified visual expression.
The OW149 Colonial Chair dates back to 1949 and clearly reflects Wanscher’s fondness for the delicate and refined, as well as for his fascination with furniture design from 18th-century England and bygone colonial times. Wanscher wished to create furniture that paid tribute to classic conservative trends but also stood the test of time, and was so successful in achieving this balance that the colonial chair remains his best-known furniture design to this day.
Featuring a relatively simple lattice construction, its elements supporting one another. The chair’s slender dimensions are kept minimal, its strength achieved instead through a well-conceived structure. Despite their sculptured form, the individual components come together in simple joints, as no two surfaces lie on the same plane. All the design transitions are visually well defined. the front and back legs are made of round timber, while the armrest cross-sections form slender ellipses that taper into a refined curved profile. The sophisticated, slightly curved armrests rise to a point before taking a vertical turn downwards – a well-known feature of Wanscher’s design.
Despite its beautiful, lightweight construction, the OW149 Colonial chair is extremely strong and durable. The chair is available in mahogany, cherry, walnut and oak with a hand-woven cane seat, while the cushions come in a range of fabrics and leathers.
Credit: Carl Hansen & Søn
Danish furniture designer and professor Ole Wanscher is considered one of the leading designers in the Scandinavian furniture tradition. His classic, minimalist approach played a key role in establishing the international reputation of Danish furniture craftsmanship in the postwar era. Wanscher is especially renowned for his Colonial Chair (1949) and his Egyptian Chair (1957) – pieces that showcase his penchant for minimalist design with slender proportions and a respect for natural materials.
Ole Wanscher’s academic background allowed him to combine his knowledge of architecture with practical furniture design and craftsmanship. He drew a great deal of inspiration from his countless trips to Egypt and throughout Europe. This passion led him to write several books on the topic, including “Møbelkunstens Historie i Oversigt” (“Historical Overview of Furniture Design,” 1941) and “Møblets Æstetik” (“The Aesthetics of Furniture,” 1985). Over the course of his long career, Wanscher received many grants and honors, including Knight, First Class, of the Danish Order of the Dannebrog. Today, Wanscher’s designs are considered modern classics, notable for their rarely seen degree of detail and deep respect for the chosen materials. The minimalist interpretation of classic shapes according to modern needs for functionality was characteristic of his design approach. Ole Wanscher’s furniture radiates a subdued elegance that is simultaneously timeless, classic and thoroughly modern.