Young designer reinterprets the rocking chair

Anker Bak and Carl Hansen & Son present an innovative and functional rocking chair

Back in 1940, Carl Hansen & Son was one of the first furniture manufacturers to recognise the young Hans J. Wegner’s unique talent. Holger Hansen, the then-owner, took a chance and entered into a creative partnership with Wegner – a collaboration that has gone down in history and resulted in a number of iconic furniture designs.

Carl Hansen & Son’s current CEO, Knud Erik Hansen, who represents the third generation of the family-owned business, has inherited his father’s enthusiasm for talent-spotting. He recently brought Carl Hansen & Son into a collaboration with the talented Danish designer Anker Bak, who for several years has demonstrated his unique talents for reinterpreting the Danish design heritage.

This creative dialogue between Bak and Carl Hansen & Son has resulted in the Rocking Nest Chair. The new design, which combines wood, leather, canvas and steel in an organic and inviting shape, was actually created with the designer’s sister in mind as she sought a meditative and comfortable place to relax with her newborn baby. The Rocking Nest Chair is thus a good example of the designer’s practical yet emotional approach to the design process.

- Form and function are equally important, and I always place strong emphasis on the construction – here, Hans J. Wegner has been the best possible teacher and source of inspiration. Like Wegner, I’m also very inspired by simple Shaker designs, explains Bak, who developed a lightweight design that allows the full potential of all the Rocking Nest Chair’s materials to unfold.

- I focused on creating contrast between the soft, oval leather/canvas shell, the soft leather cushion and the lightweight wood and steel frame, so that the chair appears to be floating. Thanks to its straightforward design, how the chair folds up is also very clear, says Bak.

Bak has used classic materials – leather, canvas and wood – while challenging the classic rocking chair concept. The Rocking Nest Chair surprises not only with its lightness but also with its format, which fits perfectly into smaller homes or other places where space is limited and needs to be used optimally.

Only the best is good enough
The Rocking Nest Chair may have a relaxed expression, but it demands great precision from craftspeople to ensure that the various materials and all the moving parts interact smoothly.

The structure of the chair distinguishes it from traditional rocking chairs, as the soft, stitched leather-canvas shell functions as a load-bearing part of the design. The shell is available with either a leather or canvas interior, and a canvas exterior.

Also read: Carl Hansen and Jim Thompson collaborate on Wegner classic

Another unconventional element is the way in which the narrow steel struts are joined to the solid wood framework. It is precisely this delicate interplay between the steel and the wood that causes the chair to appear to float – especially when seen in profile or from afar.

- The Rocking Nest Chair fits well into our collection – both in terms of its design and the choice of wood, leather and canvas. At Carl Hansen & Son, we go out of our way to use natural materials and to minimise our environmental impact to the greatest possible extent, explains Knud Erik Hansen, who was also drawn to the craftsmanship challenge inherent in building the Rocking Nest Chair.

The new collaboration with Bak, in short, is characterised both by shared respect for sublime craftsmanship and strong Danish cabinetmaking traditions.

Also read: VIDEO: The birth of a Heritage

- Ensuring that the rocking chair functions optimally requires not only the best materials but also that each joint and each step in the meticulous finish are handled by the most highly skilled craftspeople. For the chair to remain stable when you sit and rock in it, it must be crafted using only the best wood with particularly long, strong fibers, says Hansen, and continues:

- Everything from the sewing thread and the mortise and tenon joints to the stainless steel bolts and the few metal fittings used in the chair’s construction is specially manufactured for this particular design to ensure a high degree of comfort and top quality. And all the extensive polishing, cutting, sewing and assembly work required is well worth it when the result is a piece of furniture with so much charm.

The Rocking Nest Chair shell is available with canvas on the exterior and leather on the interior, or with canvas on both sides, and with a leather cushion. The frame is available in oak or walnut, which can be combined with stainless steel or black or white powder-coated steel. The upholstery is held in place by classic flag halyard.

More about: Carl Hansen & Son


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