Valet chair model 540 designed by Hans J. Wegner for Johannes Jansen,
Denmark, 1953.

Teak, oak and brass.

Stamped.

H: 94 cm / 3' 1''
W: 51 cm / 20''
D: 50 cm / 19 3/4''
SH: 44.5 cm / 17 1/2''

The Valet chair was inspired by a conversation Wegner had with architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen and designer Kay Bojesen where they discussed what they did with their clothes when they took them off in the evening. The solution to this problem was a chair which had four legs and an integrated coat-hanger shape held on a pair of verticle supports. This variant was ordered by the Danish King, Frederik IX, but Wegner was not 100% satisfied with it.

He redeveloped the chair to have 3 legs and finalised the design to what we see today. In fact the chair is not entirely comfortable to sit on, but there is one mitigating circumstance in that the chair wasn’t really meant for sitting, but rather to serve as a piece of sculptural hotel furniture for the busy businessmen who probably comprised the majority of hotel guests in the 1950s. Here the guest had a piece of furniture where he could place his coat on a hanger specifically made for the purpose, when he flipped the seat up he had a place to hang his trousers (while keeping the creases sharp) and reveal a tray in which to store his small change, keys, and pocket contents.

Hans J. Wegner (1914 – 2007) is regarded as one of the most influential figures in modern design. With his ability to combine functionality, form, and exquisite craftsmanship, Wegner's creations embody a harmonious blend of practicality and elegance. Clean lines, organic shapes, and an unwavering commitment to simplicity characterise his designs.

Literature:
Johan Møller Nielsen, Wegner en Dansk Møbelkunstner, Copenhagen, 1965, pp. 56-58
Les Assises du Siège Contemporain, exh. cat., Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 1968, p. 117
Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 3: 1947-1956, Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 246-47
Christian Holmsted Olesen, just one good chair, exh. cat., Design Museum Denmark, Copenhagen, 2014, pp. 6, 65-66, 128

The present model was exhibited at the 'Copenhagen Cabinetmakers' Guild', Kunstindustrimuseet, Copenhagen, 25 September-11 October 1953, stand 2, and 'Les Assises du Siège Contemporain', Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 3 May-29 July 1968.


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