Advertisement –The birthday edition Wishbone chair post in collaboration with Carl Hansen & Sons. I’m excited to share and learn so much about the history of Danish design with Carl Hansen & Søn playing a pivotal part in Danish design history.
Happy birthday Hans! Each year Carl Hanson & Søn celebrate the timeless design of the CH24 Wishbone chair on the late and great Hans J.Wegner’s birthday. Hans would have been 106 years old on 2nd April. And to mark this occasion Carl Hansen & Søn selected London based interior designer Ilse Crawford to put her designer touch to the Wishbone chair.
a little history
Hans J. Wegner first designed the Wishbone chair in 1949 and then manufactured by Carl Hansen & Søn in 1950. The chair has been production ever since. Wegner was part of the ‘Golden age’ of design, where modernist architects designed furniture and lighting for their architectural projects. Many of the designers during this ‘golden’ time studied under the most recognised ‘father’ of design Kaare Klint. And Wegner was one of his students, included on the student list were Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjærholm and Børge Mogensen.
Klint taught the fundamentals of functionalism and practicality of architecture. He also created furniture based on a studies about the human body, studying an object’s use over it’s form. You can tell I’m nerding out right now, I love this stuff!
The significant teachings of Klint must have influenced Wegner’s approach to design and in many ways you can see how Wegner’s chairs relate to the human body, with function in mind and quality of craftsmanship apparent. With almost 500 chairs in his lifetime, Wegner’s CH24 Wishbone chair is one of his most iconic designs.
Isle Crawford’s anniversary edition of the CH24 Wishbone chair
London based designer, academic and creative director Isle Crawford is such an incredible talent. I admire her work so much. If you’re in the designs scene then she needs little introduction, you know who she is.
Isle’s mission is to put human needs and desires at the centre of all she does. “This means creating environments where humans feel comfortable; public spaces that make people feel at home and homes that are habitable and make sense for the people who live in them. It means designing furniture and products that support and enhance human behaviour and actions in everyday life. It means restoring the human balance in brands and businesses that have lost their way.” – via StudioIlse
Her approach to design seems reminiscent to that of Klint. Could this collaboration be a perfect match or what?!
So why is the chair glossy blue you ask?
The colour hints to Wegner’s historical interest’s and in particular Wegner’s long-standing fascination with the Asian design history and craft.
“The blue refers to the colour, which has been so much a part of Chinese culture: from the blue and white china that obsessed the world for so many centuries, to the dark blue of indigo textiles,” says Crawford, “While the high gloss finish references the traditional Chinese lacquer finish.”
Traditionally asian lacquered items were admired as a precious item and mysterious material. It was often used to coat and protect goods and perishable material such as bamboo, silk and wood. Certain woods may need extra protection in high humid conditions to avoid splitting, cracking etc. Lacquer is traditionally applied with many thin layers, approximately 100 layers, to create the perfect shiny finish.
This chair is made with coated with a modern version of lacquer, a high gloss water based lacquer. Probably more eco friendly and maybe not 100 layers. A modern approach to lacquering. What I found fascinating about this finish is that the navy blue altered in various light, from mid navy to almost black. The dance of light and colour brought life to the chair. I was worried that being a solid colour over the beautiful beech wood would kill the essence of the chair but this liveliness in tone brought something new and special.
In short the choice of finish is very fitting when honouring Wegner’s love of Asia. You could say by lacquering a limited number of these iconic chairs is Ilse’s way to protect and honour the history of this design and beauty of form and material.
It takes more than 100 steps to make this chair and all by hand. This is when craftsmanship has to be at it’s best. A single piece of steam bent wood is formed to create a comfortable back-arm rest with the Y-shaped piece of wood giving support to the top steam bent piece. This gave the name of the ‘Wishbone’ chair.
Each hand woven seat is made from 120 meters of paper cord, that a highly skilled craftsman can make in an hour. This brings structure to the chair and support. It also looks super nice.
A limited edition plaque on each piece.
Wegner’s “vast curiosity about other natural materials that enabled him to bring an organic, natural softness to formalistic minimalism.” – via Carl Hansen & Søn
This chair is a piece of history and a chair I’ve adored for all of my year’s in the design world. A stunning piece don’t you agree?