This year would have marked Hans J. Wegner’s 105th birthday. Carl Hansen & Son, which is known for its extensive collection of Wegner furniture, is paying tribute to the legendary furniture designer with a previously unseen variant of the Wishbone Chair that has never been manufactured before.
True to tradition, Carl Hansen & Son is celebrating Wegner’s birthday by manufacturing his iconic Wishbone Chair in a new special edition, which will only be offered on the anniversary of the furniture designer’s birth, 2 April 2019, when he would have turned 105.
The legendary Wishbone Chair, one of the first models that Wegner designed exclusively for Carl Hansen & Son in 1949, is known for its sculptural wooden frame and woven seat. The unique special edition has a walnut frame with an oiled finish and a red goat-leather seat.
“By offering the Wishbone Chair in a combination of goat leather and walnut, we are paying special tribute to Hans J. Wegner, who experimented throughout his life with variations on the same theme and constantly strove to refine and further develop his designs,” says Knud Erik Hansen, CEO at Carl Hansen & Son.
Furniture designer’s workshop experiment
During the 1990s, Wegner worked with Carl Hansen & Son in an effort to develop a variant to go alongside the Wishbone Chair with its woven seat. They experimented in the workshop with saddle leather, which, according to the furniture designer, would preserve the inherent proportions between the seat, armrests and back, and which were important for the chair’s ergonomics. However, it remained just an experiment, because they envisaged saddle leather stretching with use, and because the chair frames of the time were not always identical, preventing a perfect fit around the chair legs.
It has become possible to revisit the 1990s workshop experiment because Carl Hansen & Son now use machines and tools which can ensure that all the Wishbone Chair frames have exactly the same proportions, and because the company’s upholsterers have found a way of preparing the seat which prevents the goat leather from stretching. The result is that the seat now fits every chair perfectly, and aesthetically harmonizes with the elegant wooden frame. Thus, on the basis of Wegner’s deliberations in the 1990s, combined with today’s skills and technology, Carl Hansen & Son has now – in close cooperation with Hans J. Wegner’s Design Studio – developed a special edition with clear references to the original test chair.
Exclusive goat leather
With this special edition Wishbone Chair, Carl Hansen & Son is offering a unique chair upholstered in goat leather, which provides an extremely high degree of softness and comfort. The seat of the chair has a supporting layer of natural linen attached to the back of the leather, which is stretched over the seat frame and secured under the rails. Elegant stitching around the four legs of the chair gives the seat a refined finish.
The exclusive leather has a very dense structure, so the seat retains its shape and is durable. Aniline leather is used without any surface treatment. This can be seen in the visible structure on the surface of the leather, making each piece of goat leather unique. In addition, the deep-red goat leather is vegetable-tanned, which means that only eco-friendly plant-based tanning agents have been used. The leather has been given a warm, dark red hue in a two-step dyeing process, resulting in a natural appearance and a deeply saturated representation of colour. The result is an expression that will elegantly patinate over time.
A unique collectible
“We’ve chosen to combine the red goat leather with a frame made of oiled walnut in order to enhance the exclusive look. The chair differs significantly from the woven paper cord variant, and the special edition is now being offered to design enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. Wegner’s furniture enjoys such a prominent place in people’s minds, and all his pieces have the potential to be challenged by new materials. We have now done this with the goat leather seat variant, which can be purchased in addition to the world-famous Wishbone Chair with the woven paper cord seat,” explains Knud Erik Hansen.
The special edition Wishbone Chair will only be produced in a very limited quantity. All chairs purchased on this day will bear a brass plate, engraved with Wegner’s signature and date of birth, discretely mounted on the underneath of the chair’s back rail. The engraving reproduces Wegner’s signature with a high degree of detail, in keeping with the master designer’s own exacting standards of craftsmanship.
The Wishbone Chair, which has been in continuous production at Carl Hansen & Son since 1950, is the result of a very close and uncompromising partnership between Wegner and the skilled cabinetmakers who originally participated in the demanding development work. Almost 70 years after it first saw the light of day, the Wishbone Chair still places considerable demands on Carl Hansen & Son’s skilled craftsmen at the furniture factory in Gelsted on the Danish island of Funen.
The Wishbone Chair – Where and how?
The Wishbone Chair in oiled walnut and goat leather can be purchased from all authorised Carl Hansen & Son dealers and in Carl Hansen & Son flagship stores. For more information, visit www.carlhansen.com.
The dimensions of the chair are: 45 cm (seat height), 76 cm (height), 51 cm (depth) and 55 cm (width) and the rrp is £1,140 inc VAT.