Dezeen Magazine

Young Danish designer reimagines the rocking chair at Carl Hansen & Son's New York showroom

Copenhagen-based Anker Bak has created a foldable rocking chair that incorporates traditional materials with a minimalist approach.

The young designer's rocking chair is his first collaboration with Carl Hansen & Son and is being showcased in the Danish furniture manufacturer's recently opened New York showroom.

The oval-shape distinguishes the Rocking Nest Chair from traditional designs – using soft, stitched leather and canvas for the shell. Steel struts are joined to the solid wood framework, allowing the chair to fold away for storage.

The combination of steel and wood add a physical and visual lightness to the chair, while the leather and canvas materials soften the design. The size and foldable functionality of the chair makes it suitable for a smaller home.

Bak's background in carpentry and cabinetmaking led to his pursuit of furniture design, travelling from his native Denmark to Hawaii and China to hone his woodworking skills.

While developing the Rocking Nest Chair, Bak paired his traditional skill set with a personal approach, creating the chair as a "meditative place" for his sister to relax in with her newborn baby.

Bak's focus on natural materials and his reinterpretation of traditional Danish designs attracted the attention of Carl Hansen & Son's current CEO Knud Erik Hansen – who represents the third generation of the family-owned business.

The collaboration between Bak and the furniture manufacturer echoes the historic partnership cultivated by the company, between then-CEO and founder Carl Hansen, and modernist designer Hans J Wegner.

"Form and function are equally important, and I always place strong emphasis on the construction – here, Hans J Wegner has been the best possible teacher and source of inspiration," said Bak. "Like Wegner, I'm also very inspired by simple Shaker designs."

The Shakers are a religious sect that moved to colonial America from Britain during the late 19th century, and became well-known for their simplified furniture and architecture. A recent resurgence in the popularity of Shaker furniture has been attributed to the surge of interest in Danish modernism, and designers like Wegner and Børge Mogensen.

The creative partnership between Bak and Carl Hansen & Son has resulted in a highly finessed product, with strong ties to traditional cabinetmaking traditions.

Anker Bak rocking chair for Carl Hansen & Son

"Everything from the sewing thread and the mortise and tenon joints to the stainless steel bolts and the few metal fittings used in the chair's construction is specially manufactured for this particular design to ensure a high degree of comfort," said Hansen.

"All the extensive polishing, cutting, sewing and assembly work required is well worth it when the result is a piece of furniture with so much charm."

Anker Bak rocking chair for Carl Hansen & Son

Carl Hansen & Son has recently reissued the final chair from the original four-piece Hans J Wegner collection – the CH23 joins the Wishbone and the CH22, 24 and 25 chairs. The Wegner collection is among many brand reissues being brought back into production by the furniture brand.

The Danish homeware brand featured the rocking chair in their installation – a mock apartment featuring rich colours and mid-century furniture – during Milan design week in April 2017.

The Rocking Nest Chair will be available in stores from October 2017 and will be on show at the Carl Hansen & Son's showroom until the end of May 2017, at 251 Park Avenue, 13th Floor, New York, as part of this year's NYCxDesign festival.