The Shell Chair has long been viewed as one of Hans J. Wegner’s strongest designs. It first saw the light of day in 1963, but it took 35 years before it enjoyed its popular breakthrough and received numerous design awards. Through its unique silhouette and superior comfort, Wegner demonstrated that he had truly achieved what he had set out to do: create the ideal shell chair. Wegner’s Shell Chair celebrates its 50th anniversary in September 2013.
There are shell chairs, and then there is Hans J. Wegner’s iconic CH07.
Hans J. Wegner’s Shell Chair, also known as CH07, is one of his most recognized designs. The soft lines of the chair, which has also been called ‘the smiling chair’ due to its organically curved seat, showcase Wegner’s unique appreciation of the possibilities and challenges of designing with wood. To give the three-legged chair extra stability, Wegner designed a double frame that gives the chair its dynamic appearance and strengthens the backrest.
The advent of laminated and molded wood as a furniture material in the 1930s made it possible to create shell chairs as we know them today. Some of the early masters in this category were Finnish designer Alvar Alto and American designer Charles Eames, from whom Wegner drew much of his inspiration.
As Wegner designed his Shell Chair, he sought to develop a silhouette that fulfilled his visionary minimalist ideals while epitomizing comfort. In 1963, the Shell Chair we know today was finally launched at the annual Cabinetmakers’ Guild exhibition. Wegner’s grasp of the body’s seated posture had enabled him to develop a new type of shell chair with no armrests and a very reclined position, matching the international ideals of the day. That exceptional vision and skill positioned Wegner as one of the greatest furniture designers of his day – not just in Denmark, but on the global scene.
Nonetheless, it took the Shell Chair 35 years to make its popular breakthrough in 1998, although it has since received numerous awards. Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Son, bears testimony to the design’s great success: “The Shell Chair is unique in terms of both comfort and form and has always been one of my personal favorites. In recent years, I have witnessed the rising popularity of this sculptural classic, and am pleased that more and more people are discovering this iconic Wegner chair. The international demand we are currently seeing demonstrates that Wegner truly was a visionary designer.”
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Wegner’s design and celebrate its unique history and heritage as the progeny of one of Denmark’s greatest furniture designers, Carl Hansen & Son is launching a new, edition of the Shell Chair in autumn 2013.
The Shell Chair is made of molded plywood and available in varnished beech and varnished or oiled ash, oak and walnut. The chair can be upholstered with fabric or leather as desired. Recommended retail prices start at £1,545. The chair has a seat height of 35 cm, and is 74 cm high, 92 cm wide, and 83 cm deep.
Every item offurniture produced by Carl Hansen&Son reflects over 100 years of furniturehistory with respect and passion for craftsmanship. Carl Hansen&Son is theworld’s largest manufacturer of furniture designed by Hans J. Wegner, and ourportfolio also includes designs by Mogens Koch, Kaare Klint, Ole Wanscher and others. Carl Hansen&Son has 165 employees and production in Denmark.The furniture is sold all over the world. Find out more atwww.carlhansen.com