When Finn Juhl first saw this chair, he immediately noticed its characteristic back and named it the Peacock Chair - a name that stuck with the chair.
Despite the chairâ€™s almost postmodern design, it was actually designed back in 1947. However, its deliberately modern lines are not merely a question of looks. Rather, the sweeping back with its extravagantly shaped sticks is the mark of ergonomic aesthetics. The stickâ€™s flat part, which gives the chair its peacock-like appearance, is located exactly where the shoulder blades rest against the chairâ€™s back.
The Peacock Chair is historically anchored in the classic British Windsor Chair. As were the case with many of his early works, Wegner updated his sources of inspiration to a modern version while adding sophisticated details that required the greatest accuracy from highly skilled craftsmen.
Son of a shoe-maker in southern Jutland, Hans Wegner, finished his formal training as a cabinetmaker with master cabinetmaker Stahlberg in 1930 before starting at Teknologisk Institut in Copenhagen. He soon moved to the School of Arts and Crafts in the Danish capital where he became architect in 1938, and started teaching in 1946.
In 1940 he joined Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in Arhus, to design the furniture for the new Arhus city hall. He started to work with 'minister' cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen in 1940 and showed his first furniture in the famous Hansen store on Bredgade 65 in 1941. Johannes Hansen was more than twice as old as the 26 year old Wegner but the unique collaboration between the two became the undisputed backbone of Danish furniture design and the main reason for it's world wide recognition in the fifties and sixties. The Copenhagen Museum of Art and Industry acquired the first Wegner chair in 1942.
In 1943 he started his own design office and 1 year later designed the first of a long series of 'chinese' chairs inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Ming chairs for Fritz Hansen. In 1950 Wegner designed the “Wishbone Chair” produced by Carl Hansen & Søn in Odense which became the most successful of all Wegner chairs. Most well known for it’s use by Kennedy and Nixon in their famous CBS TV debate of 1960.