The Look for Less: The Wegner Wishbone chair
for purists and wishful thinkers
In 1950, the Danish furniture makers Carl Hansen & Son introduced Hans Wegner's CH 24, also known as the Wishbone chair, in a reference to the split back splat. The design is a sleek update of the Quan Yi chair, a ceremonial seat during China's Ming and Qing dynasties. Wegner's Danish modern style reduced the often ornately carved chair into a simple and lightweight form composed of curved and tapered dowels with a woven rush seat.
Casual enough for a kitchen table, the design is equally elegant in the dining room and functional as a bedroom side chair (the oxbow top rail is a great place to drape a jacket). It's hardly surprising, then, that the official Wegner Wishbone, which starts at around $699, has been widely imitated.
One of the chairs shown above is the authentic solid oak design made in Denmark, another is made from beech and sells for $249 and one costs a mere $79. Which is which and why do they cost what they do? Answers after the jump.
The Wegner Wishbone chair, above left, starts at $699 at Room & Board. The Hannah chair, center, is $79 at Urban Home and the Wishbone chair, right, is $249 at Advanced Interior Designs, which offers 10% off orders of four chairs or more.
Thomas Vagner, sales and marketing director for Carl Hansen, which has made the Wegner chair for 60 years, explains its cost: "The labor is Danish, the wood we use is of the highest standard without knots and the seat is woven from highly durable paper cord to make sure the chair will last for generations."
The top arm rail of the Wegner is made from one continuous piece of steam-bent wood and has a flattened edge, near right, to support the back more comfortably. It is also available in a wide range of woods and finishes, including white, black cinnabar and a snazzy Chinese orange lacquer, far right. Seats can be specified in natural or black through local dealers.
The made-in-China $249 copy, available in natural, brown and black stained beech with a paper cord seat, also has the flattened edge on the top rail -- but that rail is made from three pieces of wood. The $79 Hannah chair, available only in the color shown, is made in Asia from elm with a large, visible grain and has a woven rush seat. The top rail is made from three pieces of wood and does not have the flattened edge.
-- David A. Keeps
Become a fan: For daily design headlines and sales alerts, click to our Facebook page.
Photos from left: Wegner CH 24 chair. Credit: Carl Hansen; Beech Wishbone chair. Credit: Advanced Interior Design. Hannah chair. Credit: Urban Home