Fritz Hansen was established in 1872 by the visionary cabinetmaker of the same name. Since then, Fritz Hansen has become a natural part of both Danish and international design history. Today, it is an exclusive and international design brand. The history of Fritz Hansen is characterized by stupendous craftsmanship, unique design and an inherent sense of premium quality. Leading architects and furniture designers from all over the world have regularly contributed to the collection with beautifully shaped and functional furniture that seamlessly meet through the use of innovative techniques and new materials. Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjærholm, Piet Hein, Vico Magistretti, Burkhard Vogtherr, Piero Lissoni, Kasper Salto, Cecilie Manz and Jaime Hayon – the stellar string of designers is long and the list of furniture of classic and iconic fame is even longer. Fritz Hansen History:
Our design philosophy reflects our history and inspires the creation of new, simple, sculptural and original furniture that is timeless and relevant in time. Fritz Hansen design is visionary and makes the most out of noble materials. Every detail is carefully thought out, the process is thorough and the high finish is a part of the look, which is unique yet instantly recognizable. The overall style is international and exudes class. Each piece of furniture is sophisticated in its own way, has a strong identity and the ability to discreetly light up any type of space. This furniture is for modern city dwellers and international businesses with a confident taste for elegance and underplayed luxury and the desire to strengthen their identity and image. People who wish to make a statement, which is entirely their own.
1872 – 1929
The history of Fritz Hansen begins in 1872, where the enterprising cabinet-maker Fritz Hansen from Nakskov obtains a trade license in Copenhagen. 1885 is a decisive year, where he starts a furniture production company of his own and two years later he has managed to establish a flourishing workshop in Christianshavn – a central part of Copenhagen. Fritz and his son Christian initiated the high quality level, which has been the trademark of Fritz Hansen’s products ever since.
The long list of prestigious orders from the first fifty years of the company's history, demonstrates how strong the Fritz Hansen reputation already is in the beginning of the 20th century. Buildings furnished by Fritz Hansen include Christiansborg, The University Library, Copenhagen City Hall and The Supreme Court and other significant projects.
1930 – 1939
Early on in the century, the forward-looking Christian E. Hansen, son of Fritz Hansen, starts to experiment with steam bending beech. In the Thirties, the technique is so refined that Fritz Hansen is among the world leaders in the field, which later evolves into the firm’s speciality: Furniture created in laminate wood.
As an adjusted variant of Germanic functionalism, the purer lines and the lighter, more practical approach became the breakthrough style in Scandinavia. At Fritz Hansen, the first Danish steel furniture was launched, as well as the famous Church chair by Kaare Klint, which remains in the Fritz Hansen collection from 1936 to 2004.
1940 – 1949
Despite difficult times during the decade of The Second World War, the Fritz Hansen factory is expanded. Due to some dreadful ice winters, many of the Danish walnut trees succumb. Fritz Hansen buys a great amount of the wood and takes advantage of the situation: A new furniture series in walnut is introduced. The initiative receives great press attention and is a success.
The first classic of the decade is the ChinaTM chair from 1944, designed by the progressive architect Hans. J. Wegner. The chair is a sculptural celebration of wood and the finest craft of furniture making. The second classic, that sees the light of day, is the spoke back sofa by Børge Mogensen in 1945, that later is re- introduced as the most Danish sofa of all sofas.
1950 – 1959
Arne Jacobsen totally dominates the Fifties at Fritz Hansen. The collaboration started in 1934, but the breakthrough comes, when he creates the laminated AntTM chair. The chair later gave rise to the never- ending success story of the Series 7TM chair – and other pressure moulded veneer chairs. The inspiration for the Ant came from Hvidt & Mølggard’s AX-series, and the introduction of the lamination technique and separable furniture is still a milestone in the history of Fritz Hansen.
Arne Jacobsen shines even brighter with the creation of the classic style icons, the EggTM and the SwanTM designed for Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The introduction of his series 3300TM just adds to the myth. Verner Panton also appears on the scene with the Bachelor chairs. But the decade belongs to Arne Jacobsen.
1960 – 1969
In 1963, the factory in Allerød is expanded with three factory halls and in 1965 the administrative department moves from Christianshavn, to the renovated buildings in Allerød, which also include a showroom.
The democratic table with no ends, the SuperellipseTM table, and the span-leg table are designed by Bruno Mathsson and Piet Hein and becomes one of Fritz Hansen’s greatest successes. Just as successful, is the re- introduction of Børge Mogensen’s ‘Tremmesofa’ and Hans Wegner’s China chair. The Arne Jacobsen models also strongly dominate this period.
1970 – 1979
This decade brings great changes to Fritz Hansen: On the first working day in 1979, Fritz Hansen announces that the 107 year old firm, is no longer in the hands of the family. 75% of the Fritz Hansen shares are now in the possession of Skandinavisk Holding.
The enfant terrible of Danish design, Verner Panton, becomes leader of the avant-garde, provoking and inspiring in the service of Fritz Hansen. His prominent role results in flattering remarks from the press. The attempt to guide interest back to Arne Jacobsen and the other classics is initiated and comes to fruition a few years later.
1980 – 1989
Through substantial investments and thorough reconstruction work the new owner, Skandinavisk Holding, succeeds in strengthening Fritz Hansen and preparing the old company for the future.
An exhibition consisting only of new Fritz Hansen models, shown during the Furniture EXPO 1983 at the Bella Center, a trade fair and convention centre in Copenhagen, becomes a convincing manifestation that the old firm once again has entered the scene and is recapturing the position as Denmark’s leading furniture company.
Fritz Hansen purchases the minimalistic Kjærholm Collection with an industrial dimension, which Poul Kjærholm designed from 1951 to 1980. Together with the purchase of the KEVI collections and Munch Møbler it results in increased sales and interest in Fritz Hansen as well.
1990 – 1999
Expansion became one of the keywords for this decade as well. Fritz Hansen now focuses primarily on five utility areas: Canteen, conference room, resting/waiting areas, office chairs and finally private spaces. In 1998, another factory is purchased in Vassingerød. Here, the newly decorated rooms are converted production areas, a showroom and a small museum displaying ‘the course of history’.
The period is marked by great focus on office chairs and the introduction of the Ensemble-series by Alfred Homann, chairs and tables by Vico Magistretti, the Click-table series and screens from Art Andersen & Copenhagen.
The introduction of the concept Republic of Fritz HansenTM marks a change in strategy. The message is that furniture from the Republic of Fritz Hansen is an important part of the image of companies and private customers, who want to express their individuality and make unique statements.
The Republic of Fritz Hansen invites a series of new designers to interpret the design philosophy of Fritz Hansen. The Ice-series by Kasper Salto and Plano by Pelikan Design is introduced and lives up to the great expectations.
The revitalization of the Oxford-series and initiatives for the fiftieth anniversary of the Series 7TM seem very promising. Several radical changes are made to production development and the introduction structure of new designs, and coherent campaigns are introduced on a regular and yearly basis.
Fritz Hansen History: