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Fritz Hansen

Danish, 1847-1902

When the Copenhagen-based furniture maker Fritz Hansen opened for business more than 140 years ago, the company — which today styles itself The Republic of Fritz Hansen — adhered to the traditional, time-honored Danish values of craftsmanship in woodworking and joinery. Yet thanks to the postwar innovations of Arne Jacobsen and others, Fritz Hansen would become the country’s leader in modernist design using new, forward-looking materials and methods.

Fritz Hansen started his company in 1872, specializing in the manufacture of small furniture parts. In 1915, the firm became the first in Denmark to make chairs using steam-bent wood (a technique most familiar from birch used in the ubiquitous café chairs by Austrian maker Thonet). At the time, Fritz Hansen was best known for seating that featured curved legs and curlicue splats and referenced 18th-century Chippendale designs. In the next few decades, the company promoted simple, plain chairs with slatted backs and cane or rush seats designed by such proto-modernist masters as Kaare Klint and Søren Hansen. Still, the most aesthetically striking piece Fritz Hansen produced in the first half of the 20th century was arguably the China chair of 1944 by Hans Wegner — and that piece, with its yoke-shaped bentwood back- and armrest, was based on seating manufactured in China during the Ming dynasty. (Wegner was moved by portraits he’d seen of Danish merchants in the Chinese chairs.) 

Everything changed in 1952 with Arne Jacobsen’s Ant chair. The collaboration between the architect and Fritz Hansen officially originated in 1934 — that year, Jacobsen created his inaugural piece for the manufacturer, the solid beechwood Bellevue chair for a restaurant commission. The Ant chair, however, was the breakthrough. Designed by Jacobsen for the cafeteria of a Danish healthcare company called Novo Nordisk, the Ant was composed of a seat and backrest formed from a single piece of molded plywood attached, in its original iteration, to three tubular metal legs. Its silhouette suggests the shape of the insect’s body, and the lightweight, stackable chair and its biomorphic form became an international hit.

Jacobsen followed with more plywood successes, such as the Grand Prix chair of 1957. The following year he designed the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen and its furnishings, including the Egg chair and the Swan chair. Those two upholstered pieces, with their lush, organic frames made of fiberglass-reinforced polyurethane, have become the two chairs most emblematic of mid-20th-century cool. Moreover, the Egg and Swan led Fritz Hansen to fully embrace new man-made materials, like foam, plastic and steel wire used to realize the avant-garde creations of later generations of designers with whom the firm collaborated, such as Piet Hein, Jørn Utzon (the architect of the Sydney Opera House) and Verner Panton. If the Fritz Hansen of 1872 would not now recognize his company, today’s connoisseurs certainly do.

Arne Jacobsen, Sofa #3302 with Original Leather, 1956, Denmark
By Fritz Hansen, Arne Jacobsen
Located in New York, NY
Arne Jacobsen, rare, original production two-seat sofa, model #3302 with original leather, origin: Denmark, 1956, manufactured by Fritz Hansen, leather, bronze-plated steel. Referen...
Category

20th Century Danish Mid-Century Modern Fritz Hansen

Materials

Bronze, Steel

Early Fritz Hansen Armchair Model '1561' in Original Patinated Leather
By Fritz Hansen
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Fritz Hansen, armchair model '1561', wood, patinated leather, brass, Denmark, designed in 1942 The appearance of this early Fritz Hansen armchair from 1942 is breathtaking. The wa...
Category

1940s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Fritz Hansen

Materials

Brass

Folke Ohlsson Lounge Chair in Cognac Leather
By Fritz Hansen
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Folke Ohlsson, lounge chair, in any preferred leather of fabric and teak, Denmark, designed in 1957 This high quality made lounge chair is made to reach an ultimate level of comfort...
Category

1950s Danish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Fritz Hansen

Materials

Leather, Teak

  • Folke Ohlsson Lounge Chair in Cognac Leather
  • Folke Ohlsson Lounge Chair in Cognac Leather
  • Folke Ohlsson Lounge Chair in Cognac Leather
  • Folke Ohlsson Lounge Chair in Cognac Leather
H 35.44 in. W 32.68 in. D 35.24 in.
Tall Dot Stool in Dark Green by Arne Jacobsen and Fritz Hansen, 1950s
By Fritz Hansen, Arne Jacobsen
Located in Lejre, DK
Tall dot stool in dark green designed by Arne Jacobsen and manufactured by Fritz Hansen in the 1950s. The stool is in great vintage condition.  
Category

1950s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Fritz Hansen

Materials

Metal

Arne Jacobsen Model 3217 Front Upholstered
By Arne Jacobsen, Fritz Hansen
Located in Berkeley, CA
Explore the iconic Series 7 chair with a functional swivel base and front upholstered for a beautiful and comfortable result. The four-legged stackable chair represents the culminati...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern Fritz Hansen

Materials

Oak

  • Arne Jacobsen Model 3217 Front Upholstered
  • Arne Jacobsen Model 3217 Front Upholstered
  • Arne Jacobsen Model 3217 Front Upholstered
  • Arne Jacobsen Model 3217 Front Upholstered
H 35.4 in. W 24 in. D 20.5 in.
Mid Century "Tremme Sofa" in Beech by Børge Mogensen for Fritz Hansen, 1985
By Børge Mogensen, Fritz Hansen
Located in Odense, DK
Danish mid century spoke back sofa "Tremme sofa" by Børge Mogensen for Fritz Hansen, designed 1945. Model 1789. Produced since 1962. This sofa is in beech and features "new" cushions...
Category

1960s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Fritz Hansen

Materials

Leather, Beech

Elegant Side Table in Oak by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, 1940s
By Fritz Hansen
Located in Santa Fe, NM
A handsome side table of oak by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, 1940s.
Category

1940s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Fritz Hansen

Materials

Oak

Pair of Danish Lounge Chairs by Fritz Hansen, 1940s
By Fritz Hansen
Located in Lejre, DK
Pair of lounge chairs in beech and seagrass designed and made by Danish cabinetmaker Fritz Hansen in the 1940s.
Category

1940s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Fritz Hansen

Materials

Seagrass, Beech

  • Pair of Danish Lounge Chairs by Fritz Hansen, 1940s
  • Pair of Danish Lounge Chairs by Fritz Hansen, 1940s
  • Pair of Danish Lounge Chairs by Fritz Hansen, 1940s
  • Pair of Danish Lounge Chairs by Fritz Hansen, 1940s
H 30.32 in. W 24.02 in. D 27.56 in.
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