Swan Chair (1958)

Swan chair designed by Arne Jacobsenwhich in 1958 is one of the most iconic pieces of furniture in history. Designed in Jacobsen’s garage, it was created from a moulded shell on an aluminium swivel base and upholstered in fabric or leather.

Fritz Hansen 60th Anniversary Edition Swan Chair

Image source: https://www.nest.co.uk/product/fritz-hansen-60th-anniversary-edition-swan-chair

Technological Innovation

It was technologically innovative for the time, as there were no straight lines. The Swan, which is made by the Republic of Fritz Hansen, has been in constant production since it was first designed. Such is the chair’s popularity that when the designer Paul Smith launched a new design, Point, he chose to cover a Swan chair with it. Fabrics aside, the design of the Swan has changed very little over the years and each one comes with a unique serial number to distinguish it from a copy. His furniture is among the most copied in the world.

Info source: https://www.ft.com/content/f6594a2e-8ccf-11e3-ad57-00144feab7de

Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen, designed in 1958

Image source: https://www.bentanji.com/swan-chair-0238


The Swan Chair was designed for the lobby and lounge areas at the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, in 1958, along with the famous Egg chair. It’s hard to say when it made a leap into the residential market, but it’s always been a chair that seems to blur the line between contract and residential, making it a very versatile design with timeless qualities. Its sculptural qualities are likely what attracted homeowners.

The hotel’s top floor featured its Panorama Salon; furnishings included Jacobsen’s Swan Chair, the AJ Royal Pendant Lamp, and the 330 Sofa series.

Image source: https://www.pamono.com/stories/up-in-the-air

As one of the first chairs made from molded foam as part of “organic modernism”, the Swan made its mark in design history. The first Swan chairs were based on a wooden frame and then upholstered with springs, natural fibers, fabric etc. But Jacobsen, being a true modernist, was always embracing new technology and so the new manufacturing method of the Swan made a mark at the start of the modern furniture-making era.


The process of making a Swan chair spans many days because the leather has to be wetted and dried to get the right shape for of the Swan shell. After that, many hours go into the upholstery process. The mold itself and base is done by machines, but all of the upholstery (cutting, gluing, stitching) and soft foam work (cutting and gluing) is done by hand.

Info source: https://design-milk.com/arne-jacobsen-swan-chair-fritz-hansen/


Arne Jacobsen (1902–1971)

Jacobsen began training as a mason before studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where he won a silver medal for a chair that was then exhibited at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. Influenced by Le Corbusier, Gunnar Asplund and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Jacobsen embraced a functionalist approach from the outset. He was among the first to introduce modernist ideas to Denmark and create industrial furniture that built on the country’s craft-based design heritage.

Arne Jacobsen

Image source: http://www.dwr.com/living-lounge-chairs/egg-chair/1390.html?lang=en_US

First among Jacobsen’s important architectural commissions was the Bellavista housing project in Copenhagen (1930-1934). His best-known and most fully integrated works are the SAS Air Terminal and the Royal Hotel Copenhagen, for which Jacobsen designed every detail, from sculptural furnishings such as his elegant Swan and Egg Chairs (1957-1958) to textiles, lighting, ashtrays and cutlery.

Royal Hotel Lobby, group of Swan chairs

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Royal_Hotel_Lobby_-_Swan_chairs.jpg

During the 1960s, Jacobsen’s most important work was a unified architectural and interior design scheme for St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, which, like his earlier work for the Royal Hotel, involved the design of site-specific furniture. Jacobsen’s work remains appealing and fresh today, combining free-form sculptural shapes with the traditional attributes of Scandinavian design, material and structural integrity.

Room 606, the Arne Jacobsen Suite, at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Copenhagen

Image source: https://www.1stdibs.com/blogs/the-study/arne-jacobsen-blu-royal-hotel/

Info source: http://www.dwr.com/designer-arne-jacobsen?lang=en_US


The History of Fritz Hansen

Founded in 1872 in Denmark, Fritz Hansen is one of the world’s most recognizable producers of iconic furniture for public and private spaces. The company’s history is characterized by meticulous craftsmanship, unique design, and a sense of understated elegance. Leading architects and furniture designers from all over the world have produced timeless furniture for the company’s collection, which embraces innovative techniques and new materials. Contributors include legendary designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjaerholm, Bruno Mathsson, Piet Hein, and Piero Lissoni as well as young innovators like Kasper Salto, Jaime Hayon, and Todd Bracher.

Production of Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair for Fritz Hansen

Image source: https://www.suiteny.com/product/detail/living-lounge/swan%E2%84%A2-chair-69

Today, Fritz Hansen furniture is embraced by a range of global consumers from city dwellers to business executives who celebrate the company’s ability to enlighten and delight with design. Fritz Hansen products can be seen around the world in residences and high-profile corporations, luxury hotels and art centers including the famed SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

Info source: https://midwesthomemag.com/home-dish-blog/a-visual-history-of-arne-jacobsens-midcentury-designs/


Data Sheet

Designer: Arne Jacobsen

Year: 1958

Manufacturer: Fritz Hansen

Materials: Fiberglass-reinforced, polyurethane foam shell; satin-chromed steel swivel; injection-molded aluminum base; fabric or leather upholstery.

Dimensions: H 77 cm W 74 cm D 68 cm  Seat H 40 cm

Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair dimensions

Image source: http://anunta.info/egg-chair-dimensions/popular-egg-chair-dimensions-with-swan-chair-swan-chair-jacobsen-arne-jacobsen-swan-chair-swan-chair/

Info source: https://fritzhansen.com/en/products/lounge-chairs/3320_swan_fabric



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