Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Chair Saga

When my grandma passed away ten years ago we had the lovely pleasure (or chore, however you look at it) of sorting through all of her belongings and deciphering what to keep, what to giveaway and what to throw out. There were two things of hers that I knew I really wanted to keep; One being her turquoise necklace that I had admired since I was a little girl, and two, a pair of chairs she had in her living room for several decades. Lucky for me, no one else in the family wanted these two treasures! The turquoise necklace is tucked away in a special box (and I plan on wearing it on my wedding day) and the two chairs have followed me from apartment to apartment, house to house over the course of the last several years. I love them because I feel like they are my little slice of mid-century, modern chair history, although I was always unsure of their exact period, designer, maker, etc. 

A few months back, I started recognizing MY CHAIRS in photos of interiors I spotted from various sources on the web. Spotting MY CHAIRS confirmed that they must in fact be something special! I did a little bit of research online, trying to figure out who they were designed by, but I didn't have any luck at the time.

One evening last week I was sitting on the sofa watching TV, and glanced over at the bookshelf. I randomly noticed a book that I hadn't picked up in a while (1,000 Chairs) so I casually got up, grabbed it and started flipping through the pages. As if some magical force in the universe was pulling me towards it, I opened up a page and here is what I saw:

Turns out this chair, the Folding PP-512 Chair for PP Møbler, was designed by Hans Wegner in 1949. I immediately jumped online to start researching it more! What I found is that this folding chair is a popular Danish design and largely known on an international scale! It was Wegner's ambition to create an armchair, which could be stowed away easily. He solved this by designing a chair that could fold in half and could be hung on the wall. It provides handles for this purpose that also look good in the overall aesthetic of the chair's design.

This chair came back into production in 1991 and you can buy them new here. Of course they come with a cool price tag of $5,400! 

Now, the only thing I needed to find out, was if MY CHAIRS were the real thing, or some impostor, knock off. If they were indeed a PP 512, designed by THE Hans Wegner, they would be worth a lot of money and have this insignia on the back of them:

Unfortunately, when I moved into my teeny-tiny house a year and a half ago, I didn't have room for the two chairs, so they have been in storage out at my parents house since the last move. When I had the chance this last weekend, I made the trek out to the country and anxiously went digging through my parent's storage container in hopes to find this insignia on the backs of my chairs!

Well. . . turns out they aren't originals, and I'm a little bummed, but that's ok! After a little more research I found out that there are a lot of Yugoslavian knockoff versions out there, and I am assuming mine are of that nature.

I guess I'm not the only one in my family that loves great design and high style at a low price! I still love the chairs, as they remind me of my Grandma Jaynie and her uber-cool, mid-century, modern, ranch style house.

images via Flickr, Apartment Therapy, and various other unknown sources

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