The furniture company Fritz Hansen has been a leading force in Scandinavian design since it developed its first 'steam bent' plywood chair in 1915. The company has been in existence since 1872 and still enjoys widespread critical and popular success today.
The Hansen aesthetic is instantly recognizable and has been adopted and synthesized by numerous designers over the last century. The most striking aspect of the furniture is the austerity of material and simplicity of form. This is part of the modern school and forms the chief antecedent for today's understanding and interpretation of 'Scandinavian design'.
The company commonly uses plywood as surface panel (as in its 1915 chair) for a wide range of desks, tables and chairs. Wood is often accompanied by leather cushioning and steel framing and construction. The result is an elegant balance of modern industrial method and natural material.
The furniture's form is geometrically refined often revolving around a simple circle or rectangle. Form is thoroughly explored in instances where rather than a combination of 2D panels, the piece becomes a unified sculptural 3D work, for instance the famous 'egg' and 'swan' chairs made under the direction of Arne Jacobsen. Such complex pieces still revolve around a simple geometrical idea. These pieces are synonymous with sixties design but are still popular today possibly owing to the geometric simplicity. The pairing of a simplicity in form and a modern functionality are what distinguish Fritz Hansen furniture.