Friday, 14 October 2011

A chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles…*

…but we do have backsides, and we often need chairs to put them in… Given that last week I mentioned that I was drawn towards Ikea, sorry, expensive Scandinavian design, I thought I would share a Scandinavian design classic that I absolutely love. It is called the Wishbone Chair, CH24 or ‘Y’chair and was designed by Hans J. Wegner in 1949. Funnily enough, it acquired the name ‘Y’ chair due to the ‘Y’shaped back and based on that little nugget of additional information, you don’t need to be a genius to work out why it was named the Wishbone Chair.

To his many fans Hans Wegner is ‘the master of the chair’ (although I am not sure how many genuine contenders there were for this title, it may have been self anointed and it’s probably not something that’s going to get you a preferred table at a top London restaurant, unless of course they actually use your chairs) – during the course of his lifetime he created over 1,000 pieces and over five hundred chairs. The essence of his design was centred on simplicity and the balance between form and function. He was passionate about natural materials, which are particularly evident in the wood and rushes he used in the Wishbone. This chair is simple Scandinavian style at its very best. The ‘Y’ chair has a fluid design with a back and arms that wrap around the person sitting in the chair. He also paid particular attention to the comfort (function) of his wooden seating, ensuring the person sitting in the chair would be comfortable for hours (but, importantly, from a form perspective, that each chair was as beautiful from the back and sides as it was from the front).

This iconic chair has been around since 1949 – it’s over 60 years old and it is still in production today – the true indication of a timeless design classic. In fact, to celebrate it’s 60th birthday, it has been given a bit of an overhaul (it’s been ‘pimped’) and they have made it available in a wide spectrum of colours, from Caspian blue, to green, to purple, to juniper… One day when I live in my forever home and my puppy has stopped chewing everything with legs, these will be the chairs that decorate my kitchen table…


(Image from Elin Kling)
(Image from French By Design)
(Image from Stardust)


* Hans Jergen Wegner

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