chair photographed at Designmuseum Danmark
designed by Søren Hansen (1905-1977)
made by Firitz Hansen Eftf
height of seat: 46.5cm
chair by the Viennese company Thonet - made from the middle of the 19th century onwards
it could be transported in separate parts and assembled at the destination
the seat is cane rather than plywood
Fritz Hansen Eftf produced a number of chairs in bentwood and plywood between 1928 and 1948. Generally, these bentwood chairs in beech are referred to as DAN chairs.
This chair from 1930 was designed by Søren Hansen - the grandson of Fritz Hansen who founded the furniture company. It takes as a starting point the famous chairs by Thonet - the Austrian company - that date from the 19th century but simplifies the form. In both chairs, the back posts and the back rest are made from a single piece of steam-bent wood but, in the Danish version, the back rest forms a more generous and perhaps an even-more extravagant loop.
The chair by Søren Hansen has a rounded but not circular seat - with a piece of plywood that was dropped into a rebate in the frame - and, like the Austrian chair, it has a closed bentwood hoop below the seat that reinforces the frame and keeps the legs in place so has the function of the stretchers in a traditional wood chair.
From below it is possible to see that there is also a robust cross bar to the loop of the back that supports the back edge of the seat and carries much of the weight of the person sitting in the chair.
Rather than using traditional mortice-and-tenon joints - normal in the work of a cabinetmaker - the separate parts of this chair are fixed together with screws and bolts so, like the Thonet chair, it seems to mark an intermediate stage between cabinet making and the later industrial production or factory production of furniture that did not require workbench woodworking skills.
The back of the chair is lower and broader than the Austrian design so supports the back more and the pronounced backward curve of the back posts of the DAN chair have more than an echo of the the Klismos type and the downward angle of the truncated or incipient elbow rests surely show a form that was picked up by Wegner for his Chinese chairs and the Wishbone Chair twenty years later.