Hans J. Wegner is widely seen as one of the leading figures in twentieth-century furniture design and a driving force in the ‘Danish Modern’movement.
Born in 1914 in Denmark, he was apprentice to a carpenter at the age of 17. He moved to Copenhagen to study at the Artisan College (today the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design), where he remained from 1936 to 1938, before pursuing studies as an architect.
In 1940 Wegner began to work with master carpenter Johannes Hansen, a man who played a significant role in bringing modern design to the Danish public. The Copenhagen Industrial Art Museum (today the Design Museum Denmark) purchased its first Wegner chair as early as 1942! In 1944 Wegner designed his famous ‘China Chair’, inspired by the thrones of the Chinese Emperors.
Wegner always evaluated the practical aspect of the design process by establishing a number of strict rules, dictating the process of giving shape.
These rules may not allow for complete freedom of inspiration, but demand a creative interaction between the potential of the material and the design process.
Wegner was the recipient of many prizes and awards. An honorary member of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London. He was also the first ever recipient of the Lunning Prize. His work is in the collections of major international museums, including MoMA in New York and Die Neue Sammlung in Munich.