The Contour Chair designed by Børge Mogensen is back on the shelves
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The Contour Chair designed by Børge Mogensen is back on the shelves

The iconic Scandinavian classic, Contour Chair is up for grabs once again thanks to its latest relaunch by Carl Hansen & Son.

by STIRworld Jul 30, 2019

Every design aficionado worth his or her salt has atleast once in his or her lifetime coveted a Carl Hansen & Son piece. So imagine our excitement when the legendary furniture maker decided to release the Contour Chair, an iconic classic from the archives of Danish designer Børge Mogensen, first shown at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers' Guild Furniture Exhibition in 1949.

The year 1949 was an important one for Danish designer Børge Mogensen who, on the cusp of a new decade, demonstrated a new side to his talent. In creating a number of characterful and expressive pieces of furniture, he challenged both form and material. And one of the most elegant examples is the sculptural Contour Chair, which is now being added to Carl Hansen & Son’s collection of design classics. The lounge chair, with its form-pressed veneer backrest, attracted considerable attention, as it was a strong exponent of a completely new design idiom from Mogensen, known until then for a simple, functional approach to design that was grounded in his strong social conscience. “The sculptural Contour Chair stands out visually and materially from many of Mogensen’s earlier furniture designs, but it does feature a number of typical Mogensen details, such as the mortise and tenon joints completed with contrasting wooden wedges, which are also used in his Hunting Table. These details reflect his tried-and-tested approach to design with craftsmanship at its heart,” says Carl Hansen & Son CEO Knud Erik Hansen.

The backrest of the Contour chair | Contour chair by Børge Mogensen for Carl Hansen & Son | STIR
The backrest of the Contour chair is made from slender, form-pressed veneer shell with two organically shaped cut-outs, enabling it to be securely fixed into the seat Image Credit: Carl Hansen & Søn

With the Contour Chair, Mogensen took a break from working in solid wood to experiment with form-pressed veneer – a material and technique that opened up new possibilities for experimental style and design at the time. Like several of his contemporaries, Mogensen was inspired by the American architects, Charles and Ray Eames, and their work with veneer. The Contour Chair was originally designed for a table Mogensen created for the same exhibition in 1949. The organic and laid-back appearance is in line with his commitment to create furniture for informal interiors that supports freedom of expression.

The Contour chair with a solid wooden frame | Contour chair by Børge Mogensen for Carl Hansen & Son | STIR
The Contour chair has a solid wooden frame with angled legs with mortise and tenon joints that are always completed with wedges Image Credit: Carl Hansen & Søn

The Contour chair has a solid wooden frame with angled legs and a curved and backward-sloping veneer seat. The backrest, which gives the chair its distinctive look, is a slender, form-pressed veneer shell with two organically shaped cut-outs, enabling it to be securely fixed into the chair seat, which is now upholstered for added comfort. “The cut-outs in the backrest are both decorative and necessary in order to bend the veneer into just the right shape. The rounded back also allows for flexible sitting positions. The chair is relatively low, which gives it a relaxed and laid-back aesthetic,” explains Hansen.

The Contour chair in two contrasting wood finishes | Contour chair by Børge Mogensen for Carl Hansen & Son | STIR
The Contour chair is available in two contrasting wood finishes and an upholstered seat in either leather or fabric Image Credit: Carl Hansen & Søn

The relaunch of the Contour Chair coincides with the current trend for sculptural lounge chairs. At the same time, the chair has an iconic and timeless design that chimes well with both modern and classic interiors. “We are, therefore, proud to present a unique piece of signature furniture to a new generation – created by a furniture designer known for his very personal and distinctive style,” signs off Hansen.

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