When Danish designer Hans J. Wegner first created his famous Ox Chair in 1960, it was so far ahead of its time that no one could manufacture it. Today, the Ox Chair is one of the world’s most iconic designs.
By Theresa Valbæk
Everyone thought it was fabulous to look at and sit in, but impossible to manufacture. That was how things stood in 1960 when Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) presented his new Ox Chair to the world. The large, sausage-shaped seat perched on thin, short legs was altogether too complicated a task for contemporary craftsmen and production techniques, and so the gifted Danish designer was forced to shelve the Ox Chair, the most recent apple of his creative eye. Only in 1989 when Wegner approached Danish furniture manufacturer Erik Jørgensen did the process of launching the Ox Chair finally get underway. With Erik Jørgensen’s long tradition of quality and craftsmanship, and the help of modern construction methods, the mystery was finally solved and at last the Ox Chair came to life. And in just a few years, the chair became popular worldwide.
Wegner’s own favourite
Today the Ox Chair stands as a sculptural, supple and masculine manifestation of the very best in Danish design. The result is an organic piece that almost seems carved out of a single block. Its cushiness is undeniable, and the Ox Chair was said to be Wegner’s own favourite seating when he wanted to make himself comfortable. The shape of the Ox Chair allows many different seating positions and the ability to shift easily. And there’s also a footstool for added comfort. When Wegner approached Erik Jørgensen Møbelfabrik in the town of Svendborg on Funen in 1989, the experienced manufacturer immediately saw the potential of this amazing chair. Since establishing his workshop in 1954, Erik Jørgensen (1928-1998) had always nourished a strong interest in well-crafted Danish designer furniture – and the Ox Chair was no exception. It rapidly became a distinguished member of Erik Jørgensen’s select collection of exclusive and world-famous designer furniture.
The Ox Chair is made from steel, leather, wood and foam. All steps of the manufacturing process take place under the studied guidance of today’s best furniture craftspeople at the Svendborg factory, including leather cutting, foam stuffing and upholstery, until the final product is shipped to retailers all over the world. To celebrate the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Ox Chair, a limited edition series has been put into production, upholstered with exclusive vegetable leathers of the highest quality. The leather, known as Alfa, is available in black, natural, and burgundy red. The chairs will be numbered and marked with a special jubilee tag, and jubilee Ox Chair buyers will also receive a special jubilee book printed to honour the fabled chair.