J16 Gyngestol / Rocking Chair by Hans Wegner 1944

 

Hans Wegner designed a number of rocking chairs that were inspired by the 19th-century Shaker rocking chair in the collection at the design museum in Copenhagen. He copied the simple, straight, turned legs that are bird-mouthed over the shaped and distinctive rockers and he copied the vertical and distinctly upright and high back posts of the chair.

However, in this version, he combined those distinct elements with the vertical rails of the back and a deeper head rest that were inspired by traditional Windsor chairs from England.

With Børge Mogensen - who he knew from the School of Arts and Crafts - Wegner was commissioned by Frederik Nielsen of the Danish Cooperative Union (FDB) to design a range of good, well-made furniture to be sold at a reasonable price that could be afforded by couples and young families living in smaller houses or two and three-room apartments. 

Designs from this early period of the FDB included the so called J39 - a chair designed by Børge Mogensen that was also inspired by Shaker design - with a ‘Shaker’ table or Shakerbord C18 and a version of the rocking chair from 1944 by Wegner but with thin curved horizontal slats across the back - closer to the style of the Shaker chair but slightly more robust. The rocking chair by Wegner is wider than the Shaker chair and was advertised as a nursing chair for young mothers.

 

The version of the rocking chair with Shaker-style horizontal slats across the back for FDB was made by Tarm Stole- & Møbelfabrik but Carl Hansen & Son made the version of the rocking chair with vertical spindles across the back - model CH45 - from 1965 onwards and Fredericia still make a version of the J16 Rocking Chair in oak or beech with the seat in woven cord.

 
 

height: 107cm

width: 63cm

depth: 93cm

height of seat: 42cm

 

Fredericia

 
 

an outsize version of the chair that was made for the exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark in 2014 that marked the anniversary of the birth of Hans Wegner