Born 1914, Denmark
Practised in Denmark
Studied architecture at Danish School of Arts and Crafts (Danish Design School) and the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen
Hans Jørgensen Wegner was born in Tønder, southern Denmark, in 1914.
Wegner started as a child apprentice in cabinet making and soon found that he had an affinity for working with wood. After he finished his apprenticeship aged 17, he remained at the workshop for three years and then joined the army. After serving in the army he went to technical college, then to the Danish Design School and then to the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen.
Wegner’s earliest known chair creation was designed in 1937. He was employed at Aarhus Hall in 1938 under the likes of Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller. After some years with Aarhus Hall, Wegner opened his own design studio in 1943. He designed furniture for a Danish chain of grocery stores and for PP Møbler, the famous Danish furniture manufacturer.
His high quality and thoughtful work contributed greatly to the worldwide popularity of mid-century Danish design. A prolific designer, he designed over 500 chairs in his lifetime, 100 of which went into mass production and many of which have become iconic designs.
In his celebrated career, he was awarded numerous prizes, including the Lunning prize (1951), the Grand Prix of the Milan Triennale (1951), the Prince Eugen medal in Sweden and the Danish Eckersberg medal.
In 1959, he was made honorary Royal designer for industry by the Royal Society of Arts in London.
His furniture is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
- J16 Rocking Chair, 1944
- The Peacock Chair, 1947
- “The Round Chair”, 1949, which rose to prominence in the 1960 televised debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Both presidential candidates sat in the Round chair during the debate
- Folding Chair, 1949
- Wishbone Chair, 1949
- Flag Halyard Chair, 1950
- Valet chair, 1953
- Ox Chair, 1960, which came with or without horns and showed the less serious side of Wegner’s designs. “We must take care,” he once said, “that everything doesn’t get so dreadfully serious. The “Ox” was Wegner’s favorite chair and occupied a space in his living room until he died
- Shell Chair, 1963