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Exploring the Sleek and Stylish Shell

Exploring the Sleek and Stylish Shell Chair

The CH07 Lounge Chair, commonly known as the Shell Chair, is   perhaps one of the most fascinating furniture designs of the 20th   century.  Its appeal is definitely not   trivial, which is probably why the CH07 chair wasn’t an instant commercial   success story.  It took almost 35 years   for people to properly understand the unconventional shape of this   extraordinary chair.


The Shell Chair was designed by Hans J. Wegner – a legendary   figure of Danish modernism and a famous furniture designer who had a great   passion for chairs.  hence its nickname   “the master of the chair”.    Wegner is responsible for more than 500 projects of chairs, many of   which were later mass-produced.

Although the first Shell Chair was introduced in 1963, its history   dates back to 1948 when Wegner began experimenting with a relatively new   (then) method of making plywood.  A   year later he unveiled a prototype made of bent plywood supported on an   unusual three-legged base.  In 1963 he   revived three-legged chair design by creating the Shell Chair, which made its   official debut at a Danish furniture exhibition.  Despite the fact that the chair was well   received by critics, its avant-garde, futuristic shape made the general   public rather reluctant.  For this   reason, mass production was restricted so that only a small initial batch was   for sale.

The Shell Chair was brought back to life by the furniture company   Carl Hansen & Son, which brought the CH07 back into production in 1997.  The Shell Chair, manufactured under the new   brand, immediately experienced a commercial breakthrough.  It has also received numerous design   awards.


The shape of the chair is rather ascetic, but still refined and   unusual.  Its design embodies the   famous credo of its creator, which states: “A chair should not have a rear   view.  It should be beautiful from all   sides and angles.  “In fact, the   chair, with its famous curves, looks very appealing and futuristic at every   angle. The curvy, organic shape of the CH07 was achieved through the use of   curved plywood, which was pioneered by Charles Eames. Hence the similarity   between the.” Shell Chair and the famous LCW Chair are undeniable.

The bent plywood used for production consists of several layers of   oak or walnut veneer, which are then pressed into the desired shape.  A seat shell of the chair with its   wing-like parabolic shape is a very distinctive feature of the design, which   gives the chair its famous smiley look.    The tripod base is another notable part of the chair.  The front legs are made from one piece of   continuous veneer laminate that tapers at both ends.  It is similar with the hind leg, which also   serves as a support for the backrest.    The curves of the forelegs are elongated laterally, next to the   curvature of the curved seat pan.  This   solution is due to the soft, ductile appearance of the stool.

An extremely low center of gravity makes the chair very stable,   even though it is only supported on three legs.  The backrest of the CH07 is inclined   slightly backwards, which indicates a pleasant, relaxing feeling.  The seat and back are available upholstered   in a variety of fabrics and leathers.    Although the chair looks like a masterpiece of modern art, it is fully   functional and surprisingly comfortable.

Interesting   facts

  • When developing the Shell Chair, Wegner tested various leg   configurations with 1: 5 scale models. Finally, the three-legged solution of   choice was adopted from his prototype from 1949.

  • To celebrate the 50th anniversary of design, Carl Hansen & Son   released two special editions of the Shell Chair in 2013:

The Maharam Project Shell Chair and the Jubilee Shell Chair.  

The Maharam Project Shell Chair has been upholstered in a variety   of fabrics from the Maharam Textiles Company.

The Jubilee Shell Chair had a seat and back made of oil-treated   teak and a frame made of oil-treated oak.    it was made the same way in the early 1963 models.  The chair has been upholstered with rare   and expensive red Niger goat skin, which has a very dense structure,   resulting in an extremely strong and durable leather quality.