early versions of the chair shown at the exhibition on the work of Hans Wegner at Designmuseum Danmark in 2014
early versions of the chair shown at the exhibition on the work of Hans Wegner at Designmuseum Danmark in 2014 - the chair in the foreground with simple straightforward bending of the back leg and the final split or divided form beyond
Sometimes good design is about designing something better and sometimes it's about designing something different and, without doubt, it was the exploration of what many could see as unconventional styles and forms that drove forward Danish design through the 1960s and 1970s.
This shell chair by Hans Wegner, designed in 1963, could certainly not be described as conventional as it was one of his most sculptural but one of his most starkly simple designs.
First drawings for the chair show a more squared-off back than was made for the final version with a slight downward curve across the top but with sharp outer corners and that emphasised that the sides of the back rest followed up in line from the angle of the front legs.
There are just four parts to the chair with a wide and curved seat in thick plywood with an outline close to the shape of a segment of orange and a back rest as a separate piece, gently curved and with a complex shape, tapered towards the top, with all corners generously rounded and the angles of the sides set by the angle of the legs below when seen from the front.
The frame of the legs is in bent wood with two front legs from a single piece of wood that forms a saddle shape to support the seat. There is a single back leg formed from a single elongated triangle of wood that is taken back from the cross bar of the front legs, under the seat, and then first up behind the back rest to support it and set its angle and then swept back down to the ground.
In the prototypes these leg pieces were a single uniform thickness but in the final design they are split and divided at crucial points at the curve between the front leg and the part that runs under the seat and at the point on the back leg where it reaches its highest point and then is curved sharply to run down to the ground.
In 1998 the chair reintroduced into their catalogue by Carl Hansen