Rational Ideas of Production vs. Craft Values
Hans J. Wegner struck a careful balance in the design of this armchair between rational production principles, which designers have explored since the 1920s, and craft values and traditions, on the one hand. He simplified the chair’s structure so that the sculpted backrest and arms form one continuous element. The turned legs rigidly support the deep seat rail and top piece without the need for stretchers, combining an expressive form that draws on Chinese precedents with natural materials and a rationally conceived design destined for the most exacting factory manufacture. The round-backed armchair was first shown in 1949 at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers Guild exhibition. It quickly gained fame as the chair that epitomised contemporary Scandinavian design.
On the other hand, Wegner had released the design before he was completely satisfied with it: the butt joints that united the three pieces that make up the back and arms did not satisfy him. Therefore the back, like the seat, was covered in caning in the early models. The chair was later sold without a covered back after he designed a larger sawtooth connecting.
Hiesinger, K. B., & Marcus, G. H. (1995). Landmarks of twentieth-century design: an illustrated handbook. Abbeville Press.
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