Whether finished in fabric or leather, the Egg Chair is an icon of modern design.
But now comes a finish that ups the ante considerably, a party outfit of gold and fine leather to celebrate the chair’s 60th anniversary and transform it from mere masterpiece into a family heirloom that will be fought over for generations to come.
[The limited-edition 60th-Anniversary Egg Chair can be seen at select DWR Studios. See below for details.]
Danish architect Arne Jacobsen designed the Egg Chair for the lobby of the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, which opened in 1960. He also designed the hotel itself and just about everything in it, from faucet handles and door knobs to flatware and furniture. The chair came at a time when furniture maker Fritz Hansen had obtained a license to use a new process employing steam to mold plastic into curved shapes for chair shells, a natural extension of Jacobsen’s previous work with molded plywood in the Series 7 and other chairs. But the new process allowed exploration of forms far beyond what could be achieved with plywood.
The anniversary Egg is made in the same way as the regular Egg, and even has the same 3316 model number, but the leather used in the upholstery and the 23-karat gold base set it far apart. The leather comes from cattle grazed on Alpine meadows across Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy. Hides are vegetable tanned, the most eco-friendly and costly method, and treated with aniline dye, which is transparent and used only on leathers good enough to require no top coating. The leather, called Pure, is full-grain, meaning that its top layer has been left intact and not removed through sanding or other processes as is done with top grain and other lesser leathers.
The surface of full-grain leathers like Pure retain a record of the animal’s life, revealing scars from insect bites, for example, or smooth spots from, say, rubbing against a fence post continually for years. But not all full-grain leathers are created equal, and only the best of the best are good enough to be candidates for demanding projects like the anniversary Egg.
Each chair receives a serial number for provenance, and each comes with a commemorative booklet containing handwritten factory notes to locate the distinguishing marks on the chair’s leather. The Egg will never be upholstered again with the leather used for the 60th-anniversary model.