Hans J. Wegner’s Papa Bear Chair is one of the mid-century iconic furniture designs, comprising distinctive form and durable construction. Originally named the Teddy Bear Chair, this design was one of the first fully upholstered post-war chairs. Providing great seating comfort, the solid, but elegant appearance of the chair owns a unique visual character – an appealing focal point in any modern surrounding. The creative Danish designer was often inspired by nature and its abundance of organic shapes and forms. A great example is the Papa Bear Chair, which also follows the designer’s established principles of form and function.
Hans Jørgensen Wegner, (April 2, 1914 – January 26, 2007), was a world renowned Danish furniture designer. His high quality and thoughtful work, along with a concerted effort from several of his manufacturers, contributed to the international popularity of mid-century Danish design. His style is often described as Organic Functionality, a modernist school with emphasis on functionality. This school of thought arose primarily in Scandinavian countries with contributions by Poul Henningsen, Alvar Aalto, and Arne Jacobsen. In his lifetime he designed over 500 different chairs, over 100 of which were put into mass production and many of which have become recognizable design icons.
Wegner worked for some time for Arne Jacobsen, a successful Danish designer. Wegner was in charge of the furniture in the Aarhus Municipal Hall, which Jacobsen designed. After some years under Jacobsen, Wegner started his own company. Along with fellow architect Børge Mogensen, he designed furniture for FDB (a Danish chain of grocery stores), spearheaded by Erik Kold – who founded an organization of Danish furniture makers that launched Danish design abroad.
In his later years Wegner became more attached to PP Møbler (which produces many of pieces originally designed for Johannes Hansen) and for whom he designed several chairs late in his life. He remained active throughout his life. An example of his later work is the “Hoop Chair”, originally designed in 1965 with a steel tube base and finally put into production made entirely in wood in 1985 (for PP Møbler). Wegner retired from public life only in the last decade of his life.
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