Today we are focusing on one of the most celebrated Danish furniture designs in modern times: the Wishbone Chair. Designed by late Danish designer Hans J. Wegner, this dining chair was part of the “Danish Modern” period that changed the way people looked at furniture in the 1950s and 1960s.
Hans J. Wegner is widely considered to be one of the leading figures in 20th century furniture design. In 1949, Wegner designed the light, attractive and comfortable dining chair that later became one of the most popular dining chairs in Denmark. With the characteristic Y-shaped back, the Wishbone Chair is a triumph of craftsmanship with a simple design and clean lines.
Wegner got the inspiration for the Wishbone Chair in 1944, when he began to design a series of chairs that were inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Ming Chairs. Three years after graduating from what is now known as The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design in Copenhagen, Wegner started his own design office.
His work caught the eye of Danish furniture manufacturer Carl Hansen & Søn. The Wishbone Chair, also known as CH24, with its light, sculptural appearance, was exactly what Carl Hansen & Søn was looking for to complement the heavier chairs that were popular at the time.
In addition to the timeless look and feel of the Wishbone Chair, craftsmanship also plays a significant role in the making of the chair, which has been produced continuously since 1950 by Carl Hansen & Søn. Amongst other things, the hand-woven seat consists of more than 120 metres of paper cord and it takes a skilled craftsman about one hour to weave the seat. Even though the Wishbone Chair is made of solid hardwood and paper cord, it is easy to move around and the hardwood makes it very stable.
In terms of production time, a cabinetmaker goes through more than 100 manual operations to make just one chair. Moreover, the Wishbone Chair is challenging to make due to its steam-bent solid wood frame, which demands perfect craftsmanship and a great knowledge of wood joinery.
The Wishbone Chair is available with frames made from ash, beech, oak, cherry, walnut and smoked oak. Wegner was never one to shrink back from using bold expression in his design, materials and functionality to create the perfect chair. And he also had a passion for colours, which is why the Wishbone Chair is available in 25 distinctive colours, as well as oiled and soaped versions. You can combine the different options into more than 150 combinations in total.
According to Carl Hansen & Søn, Wegner’s Wishbone Chair design retains significance for people today and his sense for detail is a source of endless wonder.