Hans Wegner Chairs: “The Chair (II)”
Continuing with the series of Hans Wegner chairs, we are reviewing its most successful creations, like the Shell Chair. Now let’s make some final comments about one of its most famous creations: the model called just “The Chair“.
As we discussed in the last article, at the time when “The Chair” was released, the Hansen house had only 30 employees, with a maximum output of 3 Chairs per day. The Hansen house and the very Hans Wegner were very thoughtful with the quality of their products, which require an artisanal approach to meet such high standards.
But that output wasn’t enough for America, with clients that require more and more of The Chair. Unlike the case of the Shell Chair, with great critical success but an initially cold receipt from the public, The Chair was pretty demanded since day one. That was the case of the American clients that came to the Hansen house to buy 400 chairs to take it immediately to the States.
But that was impossible for the Hansen house. So the client, a Downtown Chicago Club asked if the chairs could be made in the States, with American workforce. Hans Wegner rejected the offer. The Club insisted. They had the request complete after two years.
The Presidential Chair
Over the years, the name and fame of Hans Wegner, the Chair, and the prestige of the Danish and Scandinavian Style took to The Chair to other levels. In 1951, the New York Museum of Modern Art made its 2nd Good Design Exhibition, where The Chair was featured, and it was added to the MoMA Permanent Collection just a year later.
With such journey covered, is not a surprise that in September 26 of 1960 The Chair was selected by the organizers of the first Presidential Debate televised in United States.
The TV set for that Presidential Debate was very minimalist with only two chairs for the candidates, and a tiny desk for the moderator. The candidates speak to the camera standing in a very simple lectern. According to Car Magnusson, a worldwide famous designer, the “whole set was extremely modern and gave a sense of faith in the future”
The elegant but sober shape of the Hans Wegner creation was the perfect support for the candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy; and that took the name of The Chair to the stratosphere, where it remains since then.
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