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OW149 Colo­nial Chair

by Ole Wanscher
for Carl Hansen & Søn

OW149 Colo­nial Chair

by Ole Wanscher
for Carl Hansen & Søn

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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.

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Credit: Carl Hansen & Søn

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Ole Wanscher

Denmark (1903–1985)

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.

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