When Børge Mogensen asked his good friend Hans J. Wegner in 1944 if he would be godfather to his son, Peter, it also marked the origin of one of the most famous pieces of Danish children’s furniture ever to see the light of day – the chair that came to be called Peter’s Chair.
Ref: Hans J. Wegner. A Nordic Design Icon from Tønder. Edited by Anne Blond.
In 1944 Wegner was living in Århus, Denmark was under Nazi occupation and there was a general scarcity of goods. Even christening presents were hard to come by, so Wegner decided to make one himself. The result linked the act of playing with a chair – two things Wegner appreciated a great deal. He made it out of beech, which was plentiful in Denmark. Thus the chair became a piece of furniture that was functional and fun to play with, but also very Danish in terms of its choice of materials.
In order to sit on it, a child had to first assemble the four parts it consisted of. Tools were unnecessary and there was no danger to children tussling with the construction, since all the pieces were rounded, with no sharp corners.
the first version of Peter’s Chair himself in the workshop of Planmøbler in Århus. He had come to know the furniture manufacturer well when he was designing furnishings for Århus Town Hall, but the first company to put the chair in production was Tarm Møbelfabrik.
Børge Mogensen, who at the time was head of the Danish Co-operative Union’s (FDB) drafting studio, wanted to make the children’s chair a marketable product, preferably along with a matching table that Wegner finished designing in 1945. The furniture’s simple construction, plus the fact that it could be disassembled and stored without taking up much space, suited FDB perfectly, since the company’s image was one of producing practical, functional and affordable quality furniture that could fit in a two-room flat. Together Børge Mogensen and Wegner designed more children’s furniture that could be taken apart, but it was never put into production.
Peter’s Chair and Peter’s Table are the Wegner furniture that has had the greatest number of manufacturers. The chair and table had been out of production for about five years when Carl Hansen & Son were given permission to start up again in the late 1090’s.