The Hanging Egg Chair, for some has become an icon of a time when life was a little more free and easy, in spirit at least anyway. Interestingly though the Hanging Egg Chair was designed by a visionary who was way ahead of the curve, like many great designers, pre-empting a change, and in turn helped style that change.
Nanna Ditzel was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1923. Initially she trained as a cabinetmaker but understood that the furniture of the time was sober and driven by functionalism. This whole movement provided little scope for her to explore her more artistic leanings. To understand how she could integrate her artistic side with her training as a cabinet maker she took a place at the Industrial Arts and Crafts College, Copenhagen.
In 1946 she graduated in furniture design and in the same year she set up a studio with her husband Jørgen Ditzel, it was in this studio they began making multi purpose furniture for smaller rooms.
Some of Nanna’s favourite materials were bamboo and woven cane. It was through the experiments with wicker work she came up with a number of different chair designs including Pontopiddan Wicker Chair in 1950 and the 3 legged wicker chair in 1951. Throughout her work with Jørgen they both shared the concept of chair that was light, that provided a feeling of floating. For many years Nanna and Jørgen explored how this concept could be brought to life, some 11 years later they came up with the Hanging Egg Chair in 1957. Although the chair is accredited to Nanna in this post, the work really is a firm collaboration between husband a wife sharing a passion and mutual understanding for the same vision.
Sadly only 3 years after the chair was conceived the unique collaboration came to an abrupt end, Jørgen sadly died at the age of 40.
The chair they designed is still much loved today, and has been copied many times over in various materials. It’s light and airy, all the while the simple yet strong natural egg shape is cosseting and safe. Add to this the wonderful sense of freedom and floating – perfect!
The chair then was the antithesis of the functionalism furniture movement and still to this day evokes the same sense of freedom and disregard for convention. It’s both fun, bold and still very functional … the perfect combination, and a great piece of classic furniture design.
To read more about Nanna visit – http://www.nanna-ditzel-design.dk