It was 1949 and Danish designer Hans Wegner was at the beach, digging himself into the sand with a shovel. When he found the perfect lean-back position for seaside repose, he set out to make it in something more sturdy. Enter: the Flag Halyard chair, a steel frame wrapped in rope commonly used for flagpoles.
The ergonomic, spaceship-like form, later cozied up with sheepskin, provided a comfortable lounge that allowed the sitter to assume a range of positions. Wegner’s own included two side pillows, in addition to the hallmark neck rest.
Unveiled in Copenhagen in 1950 at an exhibition at the Designmuseum Danmark, the design received mixed reviews. Kaare Klint famously likened it to something from a gynecologist’s office. But from the jump, fashion people fawned. It was splashed across magazines, models posing on its tightly wound string seat.
The chair was difficult to make. For several decades it was manufactured by Danish brand Getama in small quantities. In the late ’80s it went out of production altogether. “It was ahead of its time,” says Kasper Holst Pedersen, the third-generation owner of Danish furniture maker PP Møbler, which picked up production of the chair (now retailing from $16,048) in 2000. “But for 10 or 15 years, it’s been one of our top products in almost every market.”
Today lounge-ability is the major selling point. “It’s not super comfortable for socializing,” says stylist Kate Young, who lives with one in Woodstock, New York. “Better for lolling or reading.” Interior designer Fawn Galli says she often places them in screening rooms. As Jennifer Bunsa puts it (the designer lives with one in Miami), “It’s a chair for ultimate relaxation.” pp.dk