HansenFritz

Biography

Fritz Hansen, a cabinetmaker from Nakskov, secured himself a trading license in Copenhagen in 1872 and in 1885 started a furniture production company. Within two years the company was operating from a successful workshop in Christianshavn, a central district in Copenhagen. Hansen and his son Christian worked together to achieve a reputation for high quality products, which has since remained. The fist fifty years of business saw hugely important commissions to furnish entire buildings such as Christiansborg, The University Library, Copenhagen City Hall and The Supreme Court.

Christian Hansen began experimenting with new techniques in the early twentieth century, one of which was steam-bending beech. This particular technique became the company’s speciality thanks to their precise skill and this speciality gradually developed into another; laminate wood furniture.

Inspired by German functionalism, pure lines and practicality became the guiding factors in Scandinavian style. Fritz Hansen was a pioneer in this new style and produced the first steel furniture in Denmark as well as Kaare Klint’s renowned Church Chair. In the 1940s, the factory expanded despite the war and a sudden availability of Danish walnut meant that Hansen created a new series in the material. The firm continued to work with renowned designers, manufacturing the China chair by Hans J Wegner in 1944 and the spoke back sofa by Børge Mogensen in 1945. The following decade was monopolised by Arne Jacobsen’s designs and also saw the introduction of the lamination technique and separable furniture. The growth of the Hansen factory in Allerød in 1963 included a new showroom and the original Christianshavn offices relocated to join the factory.

In 1979, it was announced that the family no longer owned Fritz Hansen and that Skandinavisk Holding possessed 75% of the company shares. Skandinavisk Holding rebuilt the reputation of Fritz Hansen with the help of Verner Panton and by making sustainable investments. The firm continued to expand over the following decades and is still active today.

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