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We Are The Market

Han Kjobenhavn Reinterprets an Iconic Chair

August 28, 2014 BY WE ARE THE MARKET

Han Kjobenhavn has been crafting well-designed eyewear and sportswear for several years, drawing on the centuries-old traditions of Danish design and craftsmanship to build their brand. Now the team behind the label are turning their vision toward furniture, teaming up with Fritz Hansen to create an homage to another great Dane -- Arne Jacobsen, to reinterpret the iconic Grand Prix chair.

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The result is a contemporary interpretation of Grand Prix which follows the example of the original in focusing on craftsmanship, materials and aesthetic qualities.

The Grand Prix chair was designed by the Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen in 1957 and was first presented at the Spring Exhibition for Danish crafts and furniture design. The chair was originally presented as Model 3130 but was renamed after being awarded the prestigious Grand Prix at Triennale di Milano in 1957. It is a great example of a furniture design that is able to enhance an entire room with its mere presence.

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In their own version, the Han Kjøbenhavn team have created a modern interpretation of the Grand Prix Chair with a back made of black tubular steel and woven flag halyard. The chair has an oil-finished oak or walnut seat and legs in black-stained oak.

In addition, Han owners Tim Faith Hancock and Jannik Wikkelsø Davidsen have designed a leather jacket and an eyeglass case made of the scraps of leather left over from the production of Arne Jacobsen’s Egg and Swan chairs. All the elements in the installation will be available for sale in a limited edition.

The installation premieres at the Fritz Hansen shop in New York on the 4th of September before moving on to the rest of the world.

This amazing video shows an in-depth look at how the chairs are made

We caught up with Han Kjobenhavn owners Jannik Wikkelsø Davidsen and Tim Faith Hancock to talk more about the project.

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WATM: Han Kjobenhavn has always expressed a strong desire to draw on Denmark’s design and craftsmanship tradition when creating their products.. How influential has Fritz Hansen been on Han Kjobenhavn as a company?

HK: We are inspired of the “golden” age of Danish design –the 50s and 60s every body from Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner Poul Kjærholm. Danish design has always been a key source of inspiration for our work, so to be able to work with Fritz Hansen and to interpret one of Arne Jacobsen’s award-winning designs has been a fun and interesting challenge. He is one of the major figures in the field, so obviously we approached the task with a high degree of humility. It was essential for us to bring our own DNA to the table and to add new life to the chair while still maintaining the balance and preserving the chair’s timeless expression.

WATM: And how has Arne Jacobsen influenced your approach to designing and making products?

HK: He is of course one of the biggest designers in the above time and has made some ever lasting pieces that has proven to be so timeless that they will always be iconic.

WATM: How did the collaboration come about?

HK: We were contacted by Fritz Hansen. They came to our Copenhagen store and I believe that they could see that this was a perfect match, because of our way of thinking. Then they proposed the colab on the Grand Prix chair due to the re-launch of the chair with its original wooden legs.

WATM: Tell us about the chair – why was that style selected? How did Han contribute to the current homage of the iconic piece?

HK: The colab was created in a close dialog between both companies. We brought both companies DNA into the collection and created a full concept around the chair. The chair was created with the colors and classic material that we use in our shops. In addition to the chair we made our frame “DOC” out of the wood from the chair and a cover and jacket from the leather used for the Egg and Swan.

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WATM: Are you planning any more furniture pieces in the future?

HK: We are talking with Fritz Hansen about making a new colab in the near future on another classic pieces.