The renowned furniture designer Hans J. Wegner (1914–2007) was born in Tønder, Denmark, where he trained as a cabinetmaker before studying furniture design at the School of Arts, Crafts and Design in Copenhagen. Upon completion, Wegner went on to work for the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen before setting up his own office in 1943.
Churchill College has a close and continuing relationship with the work of Wegner, from its foundation in 1961, to the establishment of the Møller Centre in 1992. From the outset, The Møller Centre has had some of the most iconic pieces of twentieth century furniture, such as The Round Chair (1949), made famous by the 1960 John F. Kennedy and Nixon debate, and the ever-popular ‘Y’ or ‘Wishbone’ Chair (1949), both designed by Wegner. In addition to these iconic pieces, the Centre is a showcase for rare Wegner designs of chairs, sofas, tables and lighting.
One of the highlights of the Centre is the unique ‘Møller’ Chair. As the name implies, Wegner designed the chair especially for The Møller Centre on the request of Mr Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller, the Centre’s founder and son of the well-known shipping magnate, A. P. Møller. The ‘Møller’ Chair is spacious and comfortable, which appears both light and airy with its spindle back and woven seat.
Although he was earnest in his ambitions, Wegner allowed himself the space to play a little as well. “We must take care,” he once said, “that everything doesn’t get so dreadfully serious. We must play – but we must play seriously.”
Hans J. Wegner has received numerous national and international honours throughout his long career and his work is to be found in the permanent collections of the world’s most prestigious museums.