The CH468 Lounge Chair, commonly known as the Oculus Chair, is perhaps one of the most intriguing furniture designs of the 20th century. Owing at least in part to its unusual design and futuristic appearance, the chair remained just a prototype for five decades before being rediscovered and put into mass-production in 2010.
Nicknamed ‘The Master of the Chair’, Hans J. Wegner designed the Oculus Chair. It was his great passion for the design of chairs that eventually made Wegner a legendary figure in Danish Modernism and world-famous furniture designer. He created more than 500 chairs, many of which went into mass production. The prototype of the Oculus Chair was introduced in 1960 and unfortunately shared the fate of many of Wegner’s designs from that period, including the Shell Chair and the Elbow Chair. For almost half a century, the chair remained a prototype before winning enough attention and becoming commercially available.
The Oculus Chair was brought back to life by the Carl Hansen & Son furniture company. Thanks to the close cooperation with the Hans J. Wegner studio, which provided Carl Hansen & Son with Wegner’s original sketches, clay model and the only existing prototype of the chair from the studio’s archives, the final version of the chair was ready to launch into mass-production by 2010. This furniture design classic, produced under the new brand, enjoyed instant commercial success thus finally fulfilling Wegner’s core belief; that a chair is only finished when somebody actually sits in it.
The form of the chair is sophisticated and rather unusual, yet modern and pure. Its design embodies its creator’s famous credo: “A chair should have no rear view. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles." Indeed, the chair with its famously organic shape is very appealing and futuristic from any angle. Its shell is made from multiple birch wood components, which are connected with dowels. The frame is then buffed for a smooth, seamless finish. The sophisticated manufacturing techniques, including wood bending and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) routing, utilized in the production, highlight very clearly why the chair’s production was impossible with the technology available in the 1960’s.
The CH468 Lounge Chair’s shell curves around the person sitting in it, giving the chair its famous cozy, intimate feel. Its sloping arm rests and generous back rest give the chair its regal, throne-like appeal. The high level of comfort can be attributed to the high-density urethane foam and the thick seat pan cushion, which are then covered in either supple, high-quality leather or woolen upholstery in a wide variety of colours. Perhaps one of the most distinctive features of the CH468 Lounge Chair is the eye-shaped quilting of its back rest. Hence the chair’s name – “Oculus”, which is Latin for “eye”. Besides the visual appeal, the quilting adds to the chair’s exceptional comfort and hints at its cushy, lounge nature. The Oculus rests on a slanted stainless steel brushed frame made of welded circular tubes. The base adds visual lightness and provides a balanced contrast to the capacious seat. In order to reach the absolute heights of comfort and relaxation, customers can combine the Oculus Chair with the matching ottoman.
Although the chair looks like a masterpiece of modern art, it is fully functional and very comfortable. Its cutting-edge futuristic design, combined with the impeccable quality of craftsmanship, has earned the chair a very special place in the history of interior design. This timeless piece of furniture still looks extravagant and intriguing, making it a great, tasteful addition to any modern interior.