June 1, 2005
One And Only
Arne Jacobsen’s Seven, one of the most loved—and widely copied—chairs in the world, celebrates its 50th anniversary.
When Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen conceived Seven—one of the first one-piece laminated-wood stacking chairs in the world—he created a minimalist form that was ideal for mass production. Indeed more than five million Seven series chairs have been sold to date, and furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen, whose international fame owes much to Seven’s success, now produces roughly 150,000 of the chairs annually. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Seven’s launch, the company has released several new finishes, colors, and models, extending the iconic chair’s use into different areas of the workplace and home.
The original 1955 line boasted a partially upholstered chair, an adjustable-height swivel chair with wheels, and an armchair, which was the first in the series. Architect and author Michael Sheridan, whose book Room 606 examines Jacobsen’s oeuvre, explains, “After the success of the Ant [the designer’s first single-piece laminated-wood chair for Fritz Hansen], people started asking for armrests. The shape of Seven’s shell is based on the need to accommodate steel struts to carry armrests.” The armless version, however, remains the most popular. Since its launch the armless Seven has become, what Sheridan calls “the best-selling chair of the modern era—and undoubtedly the most knocked off.”