PP501/PP503 Chair

The PP503 Chair, colloquially known as the Round Chair is one of the most celebrated and successful designs of Hans J. Wegner. It perfectly embodies the principles of Scandinavian design. It is simple, appealing, functional and made of sustainable resources. Therefore, the Round Chair became an archetype of Nordic furniture, earning Denmark a reputation as an international capital of the furniture design.

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History

Nicknamed ‘The Master of the Chair’, Hans J. Wegner designed the Round 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. His outstanding body of work helped establish his home country as an international leader of modern design.

The PP503 Chair was introduced in 1949 and was initially manufactured by Johannes Hansen Møbelsnedkeri A/S. The chair came into the limelight one year later, when it drew attention of the American Interiors Magazine, which for the very first time prepared a report on a foreign design. This turned out to be the beginning of Danish design's great international breakthrough. Today, the chair is commercially available under the PP Mobler brand.

Design

“The Round One”, as Wegner referred to the PP503, was designed as a light, sculptural substitute for the heavy, fully upholstered dining chairs that were popular at the time. Its embodies the very essence of Danish wood working and design philosophy. To this day, its famously organic design stays true to Wegner’s original sketches and drawings.

A light, attractive and comfortable dining chair, which speaks for itself of everyday containment. It feels as modern today as it did half a century ago. An excellent example of Wegner’s constant striving towards organic simplicity to create sculptural beauty, comfort and outstanding stability. The PP503 Chair is yet another proof that Hans J. Wegner was way ahead of his time when it comes to the wooden furniture design. The chair’s minimalistic and straightforward appearance may mislead into thinking that it is relatively easy to make, which is very far from truth. The chair demands a perfect craftsmanship and a thorough understanding of wood joinery. Its manufacturing process requires over one hundred steps carried out by skilled craftsmen to make this classic come alive. The chair stands on four cylindrical, dowel-like wooden legs, which are slightly tapered at the bottom and the top. All four legs serve as a support for the distinctive curvy backrest. It is manufactured from three pieces of wood, which are then joined together into the characteristic rounded shape, that sticks far enough, allowing for support for the arms. The seat pan of the PP503 is covered with a layer of foam cushioning, which can be upholstered in either fabric or standard leather - both available in a wide range of colors. The Round Chair, is also available with the woven seating pan. That version of a chair, called PP501, is available in oak and ash in soap-treated, clear bio oil, white bio oil and lacquered finishes; and in cherry and walnut in clear bio oil and lacquered finishes. The standard, upholstered PP503 is available in oak, ash and cherry in the following finishes: soap-treated, clear bio oil, white bio oil and lacquered.

The overall appearance of the armchair is extraordinarily appealing and stylish. The elegant, sublime 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 fresh and appealing, making it a great, tasteful addition to any modern interior.

Interesting facts

  • Despite the commercial success of the chair, Hans Wegner remained rather unimpressed with his own creation. He expressed his concerns regarding the basic design of the chair by saying: “They could have made this hundreds of years ago – nothing new here.”

  • The woven version of the Round Chair can be seen on display at The Museum of Modern Arts in New York.

  • During the televised election debate in 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon sat in the Round Chairs. This ‘cameo’ during the historical television broadcast helped to popularize Wegner’s design across the pond. After the debate, the Americans came up with a new name for the chair, calling it simply “The Chair”.

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