|Birth date: 04-01-1914|
|Date of death: 01-25-2007|
|Country of origin: Denmark|
|Primary Occupation: Furniture Designer|
|Spouse(s): Inga Helbo|
1 Born to cobbler Peter M. Wegner in Tønder, in southern Denmark, he worked as a child apprentice to master cabinetmaker H. F. Stahlberg. He soon discovered he had a feeling for wood and developed an affinity towards the material. Finishing his apprenticeship at 17 he remained in the workshop for another three years before joining the army. He went to technical college after serving in the military, and then to the Danish School of Arts and Crafts and the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen.
In Copenhagen he became acquainted with the city's Carpenters' Guild Furniture Exhibits, started in 1927. The exhibits were a laboratory for experimentation between Master Cabinetmakers such as Johannes Hansen, L. Pontoppidan, Niels Vodder, Jacob Kjær, A. J. Iversen, Moos and Rudolf Rasmussen and the best architects of the time, such as Kaare Klint, Vilhelm Lauritzen, Ole Wanscher and Mogens Voltelen.
These annual exhibits gave Wegner a first-hand experience of what the combination of workmanship and design could produce. Wegner decided to become a designer with the aim of producing and selling his furniture. Therefore, in 1936, he began studies at what is now The Danish Design School, with O. Mølgaard Nielsen as teacher.
Even his earliest objects, like an armchair with sloping armrests like relaxed wrists (a 1937 design for an exhibit at the Museum of Decorative Arts), exhibited Wegner's approach of "stripping the old chairs of their outer style and letting them appear in their pure construction."
Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller had established a studio together to design and build Aarhus City Hall. In 1938 Wegner was employed in Aarhus, first under architects Erik Møller and Flemming Lassen and then in 1940 under Jacobsen and Møller. Wegner's task was to design the furniture for the City Hall.
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A chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles.
Many foreigners have asked me how we made the Danish style. And I've answered that it...was rather a continuous process of purification, and for me of simplification, to cut down to the simplest possible elements of four legs, a seat and combined top rail and arm rest.
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- Carl Hansen and Son (the son of Hans Jorgensen Wegner)
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