FRITZ HANSEN - 150 YEARS OF MASTERFUL DESIGN

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FRITZ HANSEN - 150 YEARS OF MASTERFUL DESIGN

If you’re interested in design, then you must have come across stunning Danish design. Harmony, functionality, minimalism and attention to every detail are its characteristic features. Few, however, realize the enormous influence of the Fritz Hansen brand in shaping the Danish design tradition. Founded in Copenhagen in 1872, the company is now celebrating its 150th anniversary.

From the very beginning, Fritz Hansen has set itself the goal of creating high-quality furniture pieces that embellish spaces. The brand’s products were to serve their users throughout their whole lives. Time has shown that these assumptions not only worked, but completely changed the way people think about designing furniture not only in Denmark, but all over the world.

FROM THE FIRST PROJECTS TO WOOD BENDING

It all begins in 1872, when the enterprising carpenter Fritz Hansen obtains a commercial license to operate in Copenhagen. In the same year, the first chair is created in his workshop. The company Fritz runs with his son Christian is thriving. In a short time they manage to sign many crucial contracts which include producing furniture for i.a. the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court at Christiansburg Palace, the University Library, Copenhagen City Hall and other major institutions.

In the 1930s, Christian Hansen begins to experiment with the techniques of steam bending beech wood. These attempts turn out to be very promising for the Hansen company. In the following years, they refine this method and by the end of the decade become a world leader in the production of molded and laminate wood furniture. Customers appreciate their chairs, armchairs and sofas distinguished by a light form, practical approach to design, clean lines and functionality. This is something completely new in this part of Europe, at that time dominated by German furniture production. The 1930s is also the time when the first iconic chair goes into production at the Fritz Hansen factory – the Church model by Kaare Klint, which will remain in the company’s collection until 2004.

FATHERS OF SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN

The following years witness a unique development of the Fritz Hansen offer based on cooperation with the greatest Danish designers who shaped the notion of Scandinavian design: Hans J. Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Børge Mogensen or Verner Panton.

As early as 1944, architect and designer Hans. J. Wegner creates his first furniture icon for Fritz Hansen. It’s the China™ chair. It represents Wegner’s deep conviction that furniture should be beautiful from every angle. It also reflects the designer’s idea that furniture designs should capture the inextricable relationship between hand-made forms and noble, natural materials.

A year later, Børge Mogensen creates the Spoke-back sofa, equipped with fold-out sides that can be lowered on leather straps. Years later, this piece of furniture will go back into production as a perfect example of Danish design.

In the 1950s, Arne Jacobsen joins Fritz Hansen. The breakthrough for the company comes with the introduction of the Ant™ chair in 1952. Jacobsen relies on aculptural forms, possible thanks to the wood veneer techniqe, which is a true milestone in the history of Fritz Hansen. Jacobsen’s other successful designs include the Series 7™ chair, the iconic Egg™ and Swan™ models for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, and the Series 3300™ architectural lounge chair for the SAS terminal. In 1955, Verner Panton creates the first bent steel chair, the Bachelor Chair. The year 1968 brings another “evergreen” – the Superellipse™ table, designed by Piet Hein and Bruno Mathsson.

IN LINE WITH THE CONTEMPORARY TRENDS

The 1990s can best be described with the term “expansion”. This is when Jacob Holm becomes CEO of Fritz Hansen, transforming the company into a global brand focused on the end-customer. The production and development of the offer begins targetting five areas: dining room, conference room, waiting room / hall, office space and private house.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Fritz Hansen changes its strategy and begins to emphasize the importance of furniture as an expression of individuality of its users. The brand also begins cooperation with new designers who interpret the company’s philosophy through a modern lens. The new collaborators include Jaime Hayon, Cecilie Manz, Piero Lissoni and Kasper Salto. At the same time, the brand honors its classic designs, refreshing them to meet the present-day consumer expectations.

Although Fritz Hansen is 150 years old, one thing remains unchanged – this brand proves that even a single piece of furniture can transform an entire room and improve the well-being of its occupants. People are always at the heart of Fritz Hansen designs. That is why the brand never compromises comfort and style in its products. And it will certainly stay that way.

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