The advent of laminated and molded wood as a furniture material in the 1930s made it possible to create shell chairs as we know them today. Some of the early masters in this category were Finnish designer Alvar Alto and American designer Charles Eames, from whom Wegner drew much of his inspiration.
As Wegner designed his Shell Chair, he sought to develop a silhouette that fulfilled his visionary minimalist ideals while epitomizing comfort. In 1963, the Shell Chair we know today was finally launched at the annual Cabinetmakers' Guild exhibition. Wegner's grasp of the body's seated posture had enabled him to develop a new type of shell chair with no armrests and a very reclined position, matching the international ideals of the day. That exceptional vision and skill positioned Wegner as one of the greatest furniture designers of his day – not just in Denmark, but on the global scene.
Nonetheless, it took the Shell Chair 35 years to make its popular breakthrough in 1998, although it has since received numerous awards. Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Son, bears testimony to the design’s great success: “The Shell Chair is unique in terms of both comfort and form and has always been one of my personal favorites. In recent years, I have witnessed the rising popularity of this sculptural classic, and am pleased that more and more people are discovering this iconic Wegner chair. The international demand we are currently seeing demonstrates that Wegner truly was a visionary designer.”