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  • Words by Mr Nick Compton

The great Danish designer Mr Hans J Wegner would have been 100 years old this year. And if he were still around, he would almost certainly still be designing chairs. This was a man dedicated to coming up with ever more beautiful places to park our behinds. And before he died at the age of 92 he had designed 500 chairs, 100 of which went into production.

Mr Wegner started out as a child apprentice to a cabinetmaker and then studied architecture and design in Copenhagen before joining the studio of Mr Arne Jacobsen. He established his own office in 1943. Unlike other designers of the era, who rushed to embrace the possibilities of industrial production, Mr Wegner was an expert maker committed to working with craftsmen and traditional joinery techniques, albeit to startling new effect. His was an "organic modernism", a reaction to the industrial coldness of Bauhaus; a design essentialism rooted in natural materials and expert carpentry but always radical and innovative.

Mr Wegner in his studio in Århus, Denmark, circa 1940s

Alongside designers such as Messrs Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Poul Kjærholm and Børge Mogensen, Mr Wegner made Scandinavia the mother lode of modern design. Often ahead of his time, Mr Wegner's work is perhaps more influential than ever and contemporary designers from Messrs Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa to Konstantin Grcic and Tadao Ando acknowledge a huge debt.

Given how prolific Mr Wegner was, making a best-of selection is a tough call. We've narrowed it down to eight, above, from the barely post-war Peacock to the just-released Tub.