Carl Hansen & Søn: Reinventing Quality

Furniture company Carl Hansen & Søn and designer Anker Bak might not seem like an obvious match at first glance, despite their shared roots in Denmark. Bak is radical in his approach, while Carl Hansen & Søn has been dedicated to preserving some of the most important Danish classic furniture designs from the 20th century. But dig deeper, and you’ll find that at their core both share the same principles. If you need proof, the new Rocking Nest Chair – the result of the first collaboration between the brand and the designer – should provide it in abundance.

The chair was originally designed by Bak for his sister, who needed a relaxing and comfortable place to sit with her new baby. Surprisingly light and made from a deceptively simple construction of curved and straight wooden struts, with seat variations that include canvas and leather, the entire structure folds down flat for storage in a few simple steps. Its compact size makes it ideal for small homes, and its clean aesthetic holds its own alongside the iconic chairs in Carl Hansen & Søn’s collection, which include Mogens Koch’s 1932 Folding Chair. “Anker Bak is very interesting,” says Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Søn and grandson of the company’s carpenter-founder Carl Hansen. “His chair is totally different to what you’ve seen before, and at the same time also very useful.”

For decades, Carl Hansen & Søn has been a leading proponent of quintessential Danish design, painstakingly creating, rereleasing and updating original works by heavyweights such as Hans J. Wegner, Kaare Klint and Mogens Koch. Thirty-four-year-old Bak, meanwhile, has roamed the world, travelling to China and Hawaii to develop his skills and outlook. He has produced relatively few products during his varied career as a cabinet and furniture maker, but has nonetheless achieved critical acclaim, particularly for his beautiful form-pressed wooden crutches – a revolutionary take on the traditional crutch created in response to a need he perceived in his grandmother’s life.

Both Bak and Carl Hansen & Søn savour quality, exploring the possibilities of natural materials and creating meaningful products: objects that meet real needs, offer a timeless style and can last a lifetime. “I don’t think that everything stopped in 1960, 70 or 80,” Hansen considers. “Designers are still coming, but they think differently, they have a different background, they are in a different environment and therefore they express themselves in a new way.” Case in point, Bak’s Rocking Nest Chair has already been previewed at design fairs around the world, and is now taking its place in Carl Hansen & Søn showrooms as the herald for a new generation of classics.

This story was created in partnership with Carl Hansen & Søn. 

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