The Wishbone chair, officially named CH24 is designed by Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) in 1949 and produced since 1950 by Carl Hansen. At first, the chair was not that popular. Only a few furniture dealers were willing to sell the chair. Yet nowadays the Wishbone chair is seen as one of Wegner’s best designs. The comfortable dining chair is characterised by its Y-shaped back. What is even more striking however is the craftsmanship that goes into the making of the CH24. The design might look simple and airy, it does however take a 100 steps to make just one chair. All the wooden elements are made by hand and the seating is made with more than a 120 meter of paper strips made into rope.
Wegner, born as a son of a shoe maker, has been a carpenter since the age of 17. At the age of 20 Wegner left for Copenhagen where he studied at the 'The Royal Danisch Academy of Dine Arts, School of Design'. In 1940, Wegner started an interior project with Erik Møller and Arne Jacobsen for the design of the city counsel of Aarhus. In the same year Wegner started a collaboration with carpenter Johannes Hansen. With this experience combined Wegner started his own design studio at the age of 29. It is from this age onwards that Wegner designed all his famous designs including these CH24 chairs.
Oda, Noritsugu. Danish chairs. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996, p. 113.
Olesen, Christian Holmsted. Wegner. Just one good chair. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2014, p. 58, 60, 120-125.
The Danish Museum of Art & Design, Furniturecollection 217/1987.
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About Hans Wegner (Designer)
Best known for his chairs and seating pieces — though a master of many furniture types like sofas and tables — Hans Wegner was a prolific designer whose elegant, often ebullient, forms and devotion to the finest methods in joinery made "Danish Modern" a popular byword for stylish, well-made furniture in the mid-20th century.
Wegner considered himself a carpenter first and a furniture designer second. Like his peers Arne Jacobsen and Finn Juhl, Wegner believed that striking aesthetics in furniture were based on a foundation of practicality: a chair must be comfortable and sturdy before it is chic.
In keeping with that tenet, several of Wegner’s best chair designs, seen in dealer listings below, have their roots in traditional seating forms. The “Peacock chair” (designed 1947) is a throne-like adaptation of the Windsor chair; pieces from the “China chair” series (begun in 1944) as well as the 1949 “Wishbone chair,” with its distinctive Y-shaped back splat, are derived from 17th-century Ming seating pieces, as is the upholstered “Ox chair” (1960). Wegner’s comfy “Papa Bear chair” (1951) is an almost surreally re-scaled English wingback chair.
Wegner’s most representative piece, the “Round chair” (1949), gained a footnote in political history when it was used on the TV stage of the first Kennedy-Nixon debate of 1960. That chair, along with Wegner’s more bravura designs, for example the 1963 “Shell chair,” with its curved surfboard-shaped seat, bring a quietly sculptural presence to a room. Wegner was a designer who revered his primary material — wood — and it shows. His wood gathers patina and character with age; every Hans Wegner piece testifies to the life it has led.