Designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1955, the Series 7™ chairs reached a major anniversary this year. Republic of Fritz Hansen have a display in their showroom at Pakhus 48 in the dock development area of Nordhavn in Copenhagen where there are versions of the chairs in the style of different architects including Zaha Hadid, a love seat version by Neri & Hu, the striking black and white love seat from Jean Nouvel Design and a Series 7™ shell without legs and set in a miniature Nordic landscape from Snøhetta.
Two special versions of the chair will only be available this year with one in a deep pink and with gold legs and the other in a very very dark blue with the same colour for the framework of the legs.
This monochrome style, with the same colour for the moulded seat and the metal legs, is also promoted in a new series of four versions … the chair in a deep tan colour called Chevalier Orange, in a strong light blue, Trieste Blue, all in white or in black with black metal legs and I think a grey, a brown version and an aubergine coloured chair are to be added.
colour in perfect shape
Also, to mark the anniversary, a new range of nine colours for the Series 7™ have been produced in collaboration with the Copenhagen artist TAL R.
Here, the point emphasised by Fritz Hansen is that they prefer “artistic colours to industrial colours, diversity to uniformity, and the natural to the artificial … the result is furniture that will continue to live, surprise and inspire.”
This is in part the line from a skilled advertising or PR department but it would be glib to scoff because actually it is the quality of the colour surface, the way it reflects or absorbs light and the way the colours look different in different light or different settings that give the chair a sense of real style and real quality and real warmth.
The new colours are Opium, close to a Chinese red lacquer; Ai, a very, very deep blue; Chocolate Milk, for me an incredibly complex colour with touches of pink and very little yellow (and no I am, fortunately, not colour blind) Trieste - almost a cornflower blue but not; Hüzün, a striking mid green; Egyptian Yellow, a yellow toned down with lead; Altstadt Rose, a colour I can’t begin to describe; Evren Purple, again unusual and particular - somehow strong and sharp rather than pretty - and that's praise not criticism; Chevalier Orange, again surprisingly subtle, and finally Nine Grey, produced apparently by mixing all the other shades.
In a clever marketing move the colours are produced on a swatch with a lanyard as it will be important to choose these colours carefully in the final setting and to help to inspire people and get them to look at the chair in new ways and for new possibilities, for combining and playing with colour in a more adventurous way, room settings or grouping of these chairs, set around tables, are given plenty of space in the showroom and given carefully-chosen accessories such as appropriate flowers or tableware. The colour samples are reasonably large - 60x100mm - and interleaved with a short description of the inspiration for the colour.
The window display at Pakhus has a striking rainbow of colours showing off the other major feature of the design of the Series 7™ and that is that it was one of the earliest stacking chairs for the home to go into large-scale production.