An Archival Chair Inspired by an Architect’s Butterfly Fascination

Previously limited to a sample run of only 10 chairs, Carl Hansen & Søn’s celebration of Vilhelm Lauritzen sees the late luminary’s Monarch chair finally reach a wider audience.

Vilhelm Lauritzen's Monarch chair, produced by Carl Hansen & Søn. Credit (all images): Carl Hansen & Søn.

During his life, the Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen cultivated a reputation for being ahead of the curve. An originator of the country’s modernist movement, his commissions include a namesake terminal at the Copenhagen airport, the Danish Royal Theater’s Radio House, and the People’s House at the Vega House of Music. While each project was completed around the mid-20th century, their timeless appeal carries into the present day.  

Lauritzen often embraced the opportunity to design custom furnishings to fill each space. His eponymous architecture firm worked closely with Carl Hansen & Søn to preserve his legacy by making the late luminary’s furnishings available to contemporary shoppers. The partnership, which began this past year with the launch of the Vega chair and Foyer series to commemorate the firm’s centennial, continues this spring with the release of Lauritzen’s Monarch Chair, so-named for his lifelong fascination with butterflies.

Created as part of an erstwhile architectural proposal, the first run of Monarch chairs in 1944 consisted of 10 samples. Since then, they’ve circulated in the hands of top collectors and eluded the masses—something both Carl Hansen & Søn CEO Knud Erik Hansen and Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects partner Anne Møller Sørensen sought to change.

Carl Hansen & Søn has reissued the Monarch chair. Its sinuous armrests recall the elegant undulations of its namesake’s wings. Creating each piece is a dance of sorts for the brand’s skilled artisans: many standalone pieces are hand-polished, joined, and polished again, while the double curved backrest is upholstered in place on the finished frame. Solid wood legs capped with brass exude a warmth and sophistication that, like Lauritzen’s architectural masterpieces, transcend time and place.

Of course, Carl Hansen & Søn’s pivotal role in both the past and future of Danish design has not gone unnoticed: the company was recently appointed as a purveyor to the Royal Danish Court in recognition of the special relationship between the Royal House and the company.

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