Carl Hansen, the founder of the brand Carl Hansen & Søn, founded his first furniture atelier in Odense, Denmark in 1908. In its early years, the atelier worked by commission to make big sets like dining room and bedroom. When its works were praised for their high quality, the company started to grow and to individually manufacture the popular pieces from the sets. Its blend of handcraft and mass production became the company’s idiosyncratic feature.
In the mid-1940s, Carl Hansen & Søn collaborated with Danish architect Frits henningsen. During this time, the notable architect designed the iconic “Windsor” chair which the brand continued to sell until 2003. In the late 1940s, designer Hans J. Wegner became one of the brand’s designers. Wegner’s designs soon gained popularity in and outside Denmark and contributed to the brand’s growth. Today, the brand Carl Hansen & Søn is the biggest manufacturer of furniture designed by Hans J. Wegner.
Carl Hansen & Søn continues to find new designers and start new collaborations. The designer duo Strand & Hvass, Thomas Bo Kastholm and famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando are among the names the brand has collaborated with. The company hired its famous Danish joiner Rud Rasmussen in 2011 and another famous furniture manufacturer P.J. Furniture in 2012.
Danish architect Hans J. Wegner is regarded as one of the pioneering furniture designers of the 20th century. Born in the town of Tønder in southern Denmark as the son of a shoemaker in 1914, Hans J. Wegner completed his apprenticeship in H.F. Stahlberg’s atelier at the age of 17. He moved to Copenhagen when he was 20 and studied at the School of Arts and Crafts between 1936 and 1938 before he began his career as an architecture.
In 1940, Wegner joined Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller and started designing furniture for the new City Hall in Aarhus. The same year, he started working with notable carpenter Johannes Hansen, who played a huge role in the Danish public’s adoption of modern design.
Opening his own drawing office in 1943, Wegner designed the Wishbone chair inspired by the Ming dynasty of China in 1949, which became the most successful design of all time.
Regarded as one of the most creative and prolific Danish designers of all time, Wegner received various designer awards including the Lunning Prize in 1951 and the 8th International Design Award in 1997. In 1995, he became an honorary member of the Royal Danish Academy for the Fine Arts (1995) and an honorary doctor of the Royal College of Art (1997). He passed away in 2007