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genius of the week

"pp512" folding chair
hans j. wegner

Hans J. Wegner born in Tonder in 1914, is representative of the combination of excellent craftsmanship and commitment to modern living that made mid-century Danish design internationally popular. Hans J. Wegner is the most innovative and prolific of all Danish furniture designers.

He got an early start working as a child apprentice to a carpenter. After serving in the military he went to technical college and then to the School of Arts and Crafts and the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen. Even his earliest objects, like a 1937 design for an exhibit at the Museum of Decorative Arts, an elegant armchair with sloping armrests like relaxed wrists, exhibited Wegner's approach of "stripping the old chairs of their outer style and letting them appear in their pure construction."

He received almost all major honors given to designers, from the Lunning prize in 1951 and the grand prix of the Milan Triennale in the same year, to the Prince Eugen medal in Sweden and the Danish Eckersberg medal. In 1959 he was made honorary Royal designer for industry by the Royal Society of Arts in London. His furniture is part of all major design museum collections in the world: The Museum of Modern Art in N.Y., Die Neue Samlung in Munich and twenty other Museums.

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