Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns

Your Home Needs This: Hans J. Wegner’s Wishbone Chair

This is one of those series I had good intentions for but that kinda fell by the wayside over the Spring and Summer. Well, not anymore! It’s back – ‘Your Home Needs This’ is all about profiling beautiful design objects and pieces of furniture that I feel everyone should have in their home. From Vitra’s handy toolbox and Alvar Aalto’s stackable stool to Saarinen’s tulip table and Thonet’s bentwood chairs, I want to look back at classics that are timeless regardless of passing trends. You know, those designs that are built to last, that you’ll pass down from generation to generation. And as with a lot of classics, they’ve been copied to death over the years, so I want to bring the focus back on the designer and give you a little back story about how they were created.

This time it’s the turn of Hans J. Wegner’s CH24, otherwise known as the Wishbone Chair. Created for Carl Hansen & Son in 1950, the Wishbone Chair has a lovely, sculptural silhouette, with a sweeping, rounded back and handwoven seat. It’s been continuously in production for well over 60 years and it’s not hard to see why. The handcrafted design captures the essence of modern Scandinavian design, while fulfilling all the functional demands of a comfortable chair that supports the back.

Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
Hans J. Wegner created the Wishbone Chair for Carl Hansen & Son in 1950
Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
The Wishbone chair has lovely smooth sculptural lines that hint at the craftsmanship that has gone into its design

The design was the last part of Wegner’s series inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Chinese Ming Dynasty Chairs. For the Wishbone Chair, the Danish designer combined the top rail and arms into a single, steam-bent curve, and supported it with the characteristic Y-shaped back. Wegner was so meticulous about his design that he moved in with the Hansen family on the Danish island of Funen to monitor every step of the making process.

Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
The Wishbone Chair frame is available in lots of different finishes to suit different tastes, from colour-lacquered to natural ash, beech, oak, smoked oak, walnut and cherry wood
Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
Wishbone Chairs lined up in production

A Wishbone Chair is made up of 14 parts, that take about 3 weeks to carefully prepare and assemble. There are a 100 production steps done by hand, from steam-shaping the back to hand-weaving a firm seat using 120m of paper cord.

Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
The chair is made of 14 parts
Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
It takes 100 production steps to create a Wishbone Chair

Can you believe they can weave that seat in just an hour? That’s some skill…

Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
The seat is handwoven using 120 meters of paper cord

Today, the Wishbone Chair comes in 25 colour-lacquered finishes as well as the more natural ash, beech, oak, smoked oak, walnut and cherry wood. The colours were first launched by Carl Hansen & Son in 2010 to celebrate the iconic design turning 60, with more hues added last year to appeal to a new generation of Wishbone Chair owners.

I love the classic wood design and the sleek black version above, but for those more adventurous, there’s bold vibrant hues such as turquoise blue and orange-red that would provide a pop of colour to any dining table.

Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
Carl Hansen & Son first launched the Wishbone Chair in colour in 2010 to celebrate the iconic design turning 60
Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
The Wishbone Chair is modernised with bright colours

We’re just in the process of renovating our home and my attention keeps wandering from things like schedules of work and structural engineers to the beautiful finishing touches. I really want to choose our new purchases with care – picking items that are built to last and that we can live with everyday and not tire of. The Wishbone Chair is a perfect example, its a pure and simple design that is grounded in comfort and stability.

What do you think of the Wishbone Chair, can you see it in your own home?

Hans J. Wegner's original Wishbone chair, CH24, expertly crafted in Denmark by Carl Hansen & Søns
A classic, timeless design

All images: Carl Hansen & Son

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  1. This piece is absolutely stunning, yet so simple. I love how the design is timeless as well. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. A fascinating post – I’ve long been a fan of the Wishbone (such an elegant, timeless design), so I really enjoyed finding out more about the process behind it x

  3. My absolute favourites. I have two white ones in my living room and they are always the first chair that any visitor goes for. And yes to a whole dining set, please! x

  4. I love this idea for a series! So interesting reading the story behind such design classics. Love the photos too, especially the one with all the different elements of the chair on the wall. I agree with on the favourites, not too keen on the new hues (but wouldn’t say no to one of them if gifted of course!). Your post set me off looking at prices, and dreaming …

    • Yes, that was exactly the idea behind the series, to give the story behind them and show the design process rather than just the final product. I think seeing that craftsmanship makes you appreciate more the work that goes into these original designs, and for me that’s worth saving up for the price tag x

  5. I love the natural wood versions. What a classic piece, truly timeless and worth the investment

  6. **sigh** So good. A work of art, so sculptural, yet so simple. This most definitely falls into the realm of #chairporn.

  7. I shot a stunning house once – and every year a family member gave her one of these chairs for a special occasion like a birthday and Christmas. They are soooo beautiful – I can not tell you – in the flesh. And a worthy investment….one day…one day….

  8. You are so right. My home does need one of these. Or actually four would do. x

  9. One of my ultimate fav chairs. Great post Cate. I can’t believe the weaving takes an hour! skills!

    • One day I will have a dining set of them, one day! Such an incredible amount of skill and craftsmanship that goes into them x

  10. Such a simple design, but it just works doesn’t it? Love that they’ve added colours to the range too. It really is a shame that so many designers get knocked off, but then again maybe that’s just another way to get their name out to the masses? It’s a tough one, but either way – gorgeous chair!

    • Yes, it hasn’t aged or gone out of fashion at all, which I really like. I would always try to go for the real thing rather than a copy, budget allowing of course! x

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