Presented along with The Chair at the legendary 1949 Cabinetmakersâ€™ Guildâ€™s Autumn Exhibition, the Folding Chair is so elegantly solved that only Wegner could have designed it. Although its shape obviously pays homage to the Barcelona Chair by the renowned Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe, the Folding Chair nonetheless reveals the unique skill so characteristic of Wegner himself.
This modern and minimalistic construction exhibits the superb handling of two basic natural materials: solid wood and cane. The wooden handles serve as hand-rests, but they also intersect with the otherwise continuing cane seat causing an aesthetic deviation, which makes the cane work look well balanced rather than overdone.
The Folding Chair appears quite straightforward and elegant in use and thus offers a tangible experience of quality materials. However, when hanging neatly folded on the wall it becomes a breathtaking piece of art.
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.