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The British interior designer worked with Carl Hansen & Søn on a new flight of colors for the classic Wishbone chair.

A group of Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs in a concrete room with pillars.

Carl Hansen & Søn collaborated with Ilse Crawford to release nine new colors for the Wishbone chair.

It’s rare that GRAY reports on new colorways for existing products, but the fresh shades for Hans Wegner’s Wishbone chair—introduced during Milan Design Week—and the story behind them caught our attention. A collaboration between Danish furniture company Carl Hansen & Søn (the brand has produced the Wishbone chair for more than 70 years) and British interior designer Ilse Crawford, the nine new colors are inspired by the landscape of Denmark. More specifically, Crawford turned to the work of Danish artist Per Kirkeby, whose abstract nature paintings capture the varied colorations of the Nordic landscape.

“Colors are so closely related to our emotions and our mood,” Crawford says, “and we believe that these subdued tones will help create a warm, relaxed, and natural environment.”

A Hans Wegner Wishbone chair surrounded by three large silver curved objects.

The Wishbone chair in North Sea at the Carl Hansen & Søn showroom during Milan Design Week.

For Milan Design Week, Crawford styled the Carl Hansen & Søn store with draped white fabric, in front of which the chairs were set up in vignettes based on their colors (and color inspirations). Barely was surrounded by sheaths of wheat, Seaweed sat amongst bunches of deep-green moss, and the most unique tone, Hollyhock (a tone of yellow that appears both soft and bright at the same time), had strands of faux flowers hanging around it. “When you see this flower blooming in Denmark, then we know that Spring is here,” says Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Søn.

Wishbone chairs in new colors (from left) North Sea, Hollyhock, and Falu.

Like many companies these days, Carl Hansen & Søn is aware that its next generation of customers is hyper-vigilant about where products are coming from, how they’re made, and what kind of environmental impacts they have. The Wishbone chair is now made using eco-friendly, water-based paint. “People want to know the story behind the things they buy,” Hansen says. “Ilse Crawford has the ability to bring great insight to any project and make it relevant, and this new color palette has its own cultural history rooted in Nordic abstraction.”


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