Carl Hansen Brings Back 1950’s Hunting Chair by Børge Mogensen
HUNTSMAN CHAIR FROM BØRGE MOGENSEN’S GOLDEN ERA COMPLETES HUNTING THEME
Carl Hansen & Son brings back the seventy-year old rustic hunting chair with timeless appeal and understated elegance.
Almost seven decades since Børge Mogensen’s Huntsman Chair was first presented at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Furniture Exhibition in 1950, the chair – which unites simplicity and complexity – is now being put into production at Carl Hansen & Søn. The Huntsman Chair is from the same exhibition as the Hunting Table, which was launched last year.
Carl Hansen & Son is reintroducing Børge Mogensen’s Huntsman Chair – to complement the Hunting Table, presented last year as part of Mogensen’s admission to the Danish furniture manufacturer’s extensive portfolio of legendary Danish designers. The rugged elegance of the Huntsman Chair, which helped to define Mogensen’s distinctive style, works in many contexts – even as an attractive lounge chair in its own right.
Børge Mogensen’s designs are renowned for their subtlety, with an emphasis on strong structures and materials of the highest quality. The Huntsman Chair, which Mogensen designed for 1950’s Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in line with its ‘hunting cabin’ theme, is no exception. The chair remained a showpiece until this year, when Carl Hansen & Son is adding it to their collection of furniture classics.
“It is natural to focus on this great design created by Mogensen in his golden era. The chair has a quality that makes it highly relevant to the Danish design narrative, and it also complements the elegant Hunting Table perfectly,” says Carl Hansen & Son CEO Knud Erik Hansen. “Børge Mogensen’s aim was to create people-centered design that would last for generations. The Huntsman Chair is a classic example of this.”
New mode of expression
The Huntsman Chair, with its refined strength, became representative of Danish furniture design and the era known today as Danish Modern due to its simple form and organic materials. The chair was originally made of smoked oak and saddle leather – two of Børge Mogensen’s preferred materials. Saddle leather was a new material at that point in Mogensen’s career and it made its mark, leading to a more robust expression in his designs.
Like the Hunting Table, the Huntsman Chair was originally designed for a specific environment – the hunting cabin – and yet both pieces have an inviting elegance, due in part to their angled legs and slender design, which lend them a lightness of form. Designed to fit under a dining table, the Huntsman Chair is relatively low with organically shaped armrests, so it works well as both a dining chair and a lounge chair.
Visual lightness and elegance
The Huntsman Chair is characterized by a stringent, rational design which lets the materials speak for themselves. With his typical focus on optimizing the function of furniture and his eye for detailed craftsmanship, Børge Mogensen has designed a chair which highly unites aesthetics and sublime comfort. From the chair’s soft, organic wooden frame, its angled legs, and its rounded embracing armrests to its classic mortise and tenon joints with contrasting wooden wedges, Mogensen’s training as a cabinet maker is in evidence. The mortise and tenon joints in particular, which add extra strength to the chair, demand the precision of a true craftsman.
The saddle leather used in the chair’s seat and backrest wraps around the wooden frame, held taut by buckles behind the back and under the seat – a characteristic design feature of Mogensen’s work that bears witness to his flair for the aesthetic. The saddle leather is carefully skived for a smooth transition between layers. The flexible top edge of the leather and the swiveling backrest, mounted on brass or stainless steel brackets, optimize sitting comfort and enable flexible sitting positions.
The design is a testament to Mogensen’s training under the great master of Danish design – Kaare Klint. Although Mogensen developed his own design expression with an emphasis on an informal interior design culture, he was greatly inspired by Kaare Klint’s focus on human proportions, and the idea that a good piece of furniture must radiate visual tranquility as well as practical function.
“Børge Mogensen’s respect for wood and his expert craftsmanship are clearly reflected in his designs. This is one of the reasons his furniture fits within Carl Hansen & Son’s collection so well. His design values are very meaningful to us, and so it is a pleasure to recreate this chair from his original drawings,” says Knud Erik Hansen, who looks forward to adding another design from Mogensen to the collection this year.
Like the Hunting Table, the Huntsman Chair – model number BM1106 – is crafted in solid oak and walnut with various finishes. The chair’s backrest and seat are available in saddle leather in natural, cognac or black, with buckles and brackets made of brass or stainless steel. The chair’s mortise and tenon joints are completed with wedges in contrasting wood.
The dimensions of the chair are: 42.5 cm (seat height), 84 cm (height), 62 cm (depth) and 67 cm (width).
The Huntsman Chair is now available in stores.
Børge Mogensen (1914-1972)
Børge Mogensen was known as ‘the people’s designer’ – not only because of his convivial nature but also because, throughout his career, he insisted on designing quality furniture that was within people’s reach. Mogensen’s approach to the creative process was to produce pieces that placed humans at the center and could last for generations. With this as his starting point, he became one of the most influential designers of the post-war era and a prominent figure among the designers behind Danish Modern. Mogensen’s ambition to design simple and functional wooden furniture for both private and public spaces was, and continues to be, in line with the Danish understanding of design and the concept of democratic design.
Mogensen’s designs represent a restrained aesthetic with emphasis on strong construction and materials of the highest quality. Throughout his life, he swore by solid wood, particularly oak, pine and beech wood, as well as leather. From these materials, Mogensen created a string of simple and functional furniture pieces with the purpose, in his view, to invite people to express themselves freely. Many people will recognize his Hunting Table and Deck Chair Set. The driven designer avoided unnecessary adornment and wild experiments. Instead, he stood for visual clarity, and often used the squares of his A4 graph paper pad as the starting point for his work.
Mogensen learned the stringent and clear approach to furniture design from Kaare Klint, one of the most influential designers of his time. As a student of Klint’s at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Mogensen was inspired by his thoughts about the bare essentials and the fact that Klint based his designs on human proportions. According to both Klint and Mogensen, a successful furniture piece should radiate both visual calmness and pure functionalism. In contrast to Klint, however, Mogensen placed considerable emphasis on developing furniture for informal interior décor and adapted to modern production facilities.
Mogensen completed his cabinetmaker training in 1934. From the beginning, he based his design on the universe of wood, and retained his fondness for this organic material throughout his career. He later studied furniture design at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts (1936-1938) and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (1938-1942). In the same period, he was employed at Kaare Klint’s and Mogens Koch’s design studios, where he worked until he was hired as chief designer for the Danish furniture cooperative FDB in 1942. Here, Mogensen became a pioneer for the concept of democratic design, setting a whole new agenda for modern interior design until 1950, when he established his own design studio. His plan was to develop modern, useful furniture pieces that could be produced locally using material from the Nordic woods.
Even though Mogensen developed his own expression, with visual simplicity as his focal point, he also found inspiration in other cultures and styles, including international modernism, ethnic arts, Japanese carvings, and historic works such as simple Shaker furniture. Over the course of his relatively short life, Mogensen established himself as a distinctive furniture designer with a very personal style. He was extremely productive in his 35-year career, designing a wide range of furniture pieces and furnishing fabrics, many of which are regarded today as classics.
Mogensen also found time to teach furniture design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1945 to 1947. He participated in the annual Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Furniture Exhibitions and the exhibitions held by the National Association of Danish Crafts in Denmark and abroad for several years. In 1948, Mogensen participated, together with his friend Hans J. Wegner, in the international Competition for Low-Cost Furniture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in 1961 had a solo exhibition in London.
In 1950, Mogensen was awarded the Eckersberg Medal and in 1971 the Danish Furniture Prize. In 1972, just before his death, he was awarded the C.F. Hansen Medal and appointed Honorary Royal Designer for Industry at the Royal Society of Arts in London.
ABOUT CARL HANSEN & SØN
Carl Hansen & Son represents over 100 years of furniture history with respect and passion for quality craftsmanship. The world’s largest manufacturer of furniture designed by Hans J. Wegner, Carl Hansen & Son also produces works by renowned design masters such as Ole Wanscher, Kaare Klint, Poul Kjærholm, Mogens Koch, Frits Henningsen, Tadao Ando, and EOOS. Carl Hansen & Son furniture is produced in Denmark and sold all over the world. Learn more at www.carlhansen.com