Frits Henningsen's uncompromising approach to furniture design culminated with his 1954 Signature Chair, which crowned his distinguished career. In a tribute to this iconic chair, Carl Hansen & Son will host a special exhibition focusing on Frits’ final design. The exhibition will take place during the London Design Festival 2015 in the new Carl Hansen & Son and Rud. Rasmussen showroom 21st-25th September.
The Signature Chair was the last piece of furniture Frits Henningsen designed and produced, with fewer than 20 pieces manufactured. Carl Hansen & Son has recreated this unique piece, bringing the final work of one of Denmark’s most beguiling designers to the public.
The vintage Signature Chair will be on show at the London Design Festival, alongside the Heritage Chair – another of Henningsen’s most renowned designs.
Different stages of the Signature Chair’s production – prototype, vintage and the newly developed 2015 version – will be showcased in the Carl Hansen & Son and Rud. Rasmussen showroom in London’s Clerkenwell neighbourhood. The prototype will be available for visitors to see and sit on.
Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Son, comments: "Our work with Frits Henningsen and his family has been ongoing for many years, and the recreation of the Signature Chair is a continuation of this partnership.
This is the chair that put the finishing touch on Frits Henningsen's lifework and consummated his legacy as one of Denmark's greatest furniture designers. The Signature Chair is therefore an indisputable classic, and its timeless design makes it a natural addition to our product range, and one that we are proud to showcase for the London Design Festival."
A cabinetmaker who held his profession to very high standards, Frits Henningsen always produced his own designs. He often began the process by creating a small model – the Signature Chair, for example, was designed using plasticine and toothpicks for legs. The frame was then manufactured in his Copenhagen workshop, undergoing months of testing and adjustments before Frits was content with the result.
Over the course of his career, Frits Henningsen’s designs became increasingly minimalistic, and the Signature Chair is seen as his purest and most pared-down piece of furniture. It is, therefore, an extremely rare piece of furniture and not often seen at auctions. On the rare occasions it does appear, the chair is highly sought after among collectors and has sold for large sums in recent years.
While many of Frits Henningsen’s younger contemporaries made increasing use of straight lines in their design work, Frits emphasised the importance of achieving comfort and elegance through the use of graceful, curved lines – as evidenced by many of his furniture pieces. This theme is clearly visible in the Signature Chair – soft, inviting shapes and floating armrests create a simple, organic form that offers the user a feeling of security and optimal comfort.
Knud Erik Hansen concludes: "With its very simple design, the Signature Chair tells the story of a cabinetmaker who was uncompromising and perfectionistic in his choice of materials and execution. The chair in many ways reflects the culmination of a long career as a furniture designer and cements Frits Henningsen’s prominent position in Danish furniture design history."