Ilse Crawford Curates a Fresh Palette for 5 of Hans J. Wegner’s Iconic Chairs

05.03.21 | By
Ilse Crawford Curates a Fresh Palette for 5 of Hans J. Wegner’s Iconic Chairs

Carl Hansen & Søn are celebrating the legacy of furniture designer Hans J. Wegner and more than 70 years of collaboration with another partnership. London-based designer Ilse Crawford has partnered with the brand to introduce a raw, rich color palette to the first chairs Wegner created for Carl Hansen & Søn.

two chairs

chair and sideboard

Wegner and Carl Hansen & Søn first teamed up in 1949, and after a year the CH22, CH23, CH24, CH25 and CH26 chairs were ready to be introduced to the world. The First Masterpieces collection includes these five iconic Wegner designs, including the CH24 – also known as the Wishbone Chair – and the woven CH25 lounge chair.

table and chairs

chair and table with bench

“I’ve always been an admirer of the great Danish designers, but in particular Hans Wegner,” Crawford said. “I have always liked that, in some way, his furniture is an extension of the human being.” Choosing the five color palette began by thinking about how Wegner himself might use color and how it would best be appropriated for his work. “We were drawn to the paintings of Per Kirkeby. That abstract expressionism, his raw interpretation that references geology and Danish landscapes. We’re becoming far more aware of the actual colors of nature, its earthy richness.”

three chairs

The opposite of trendy or pretty, these are colors with real integrity and a connection to Denmark. They have their own truth that looks good independently.

– Ilse Crawford

color swatches on desk

chair inspiration on desk

Wegner was a designer who never felt as though his work was finished, including his chairs. Crawford wanted to honor that with this palette as well. It reflects the current times we live in for a contemporary audience and allows the colors to grow with and reflect life back at you over time.





The environmentally friendly, water-based color formulas used have a slightly transparent finish, allowing for the chair’s natural oak wood grain to show through. “Water-based paints have massively improved over the last few years, these days they are much more durable and use 90% less volatile organic compounds,” Crawford shared. “The world of materials and finishes is changing before our eyes.”


North Sea





Carl Hansen & Søn and Crawford hope that this fresh take on color brings life to your space. “It brings a warmth and energy without trying to be trendy. It’s a reflection of our way of looking at the world today. It’s about looking at nature, about the way we see ourselves in nature – things that I think are giving us a new eye for color,” Crawford said.

Ilse Crawford headshot

Ilse Crawford

“Hans J. Wegner is an inherent part of our DNA,” says Carl Hansen & Søn CEO, Knud Erik Hansen, “These pieces were the forerunners for what would develop into an impressive collection of some of the most iconic pieces of furniture in the world, and to be able to refresh them for a new generation is a great pleasure. Ilse has an ability to imbue any project with great insight and relevance, and this new color scheme has its own cultural history.”

To learn more about the limited-edition First Masterpieces collection or to make a purchase, visit Carl Hansen & Søn Flagship Stores in New York and San Francisco or exclusive e-commerce partner

>>> Check out the Carl Hansen & Søn collection, including the CH24 Wishbone Chairs in the Soft Colors limited edition collection, in the Design Milk Shop here! <<<

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.