Q & a Lasse Hyldgaard – The furniture collector
At Journal we have a general passion for well designed items, especially furniture, art & architecture always seems to catch our interest.
We recently met up with a true collector, the Hans J. Wegner furniture enthousiast Lasse.
His love towards Hans J. Wegner started at the age of 13. Lasses search & curiosity for pieces made by ”the master chair maker” started a lifetime project of 9 books with a full listing of all Wegners works & activities. The books are the first of its kind, and made with warm help from the inheritants of Wegner & fellow furniture collectors from all over the world.
There are many great designers from the ”Danish modern period” why did Wegner catch your interest.?
Everybody remember their first love. I am no exception. In my case, I am 13 years old and on vacation with my parents. Suddenly i lose track of time and place, in front of me is the most beautiful round table with matching six chairs. What my parents thought was a brief flirtation turns out instead to be love at first sight. The elegant table and chairs designed by designer Hans J. Wegner are symbolically named the ”heart set”.
My life changed in a heartbeat, i fell in love with Wegner's furniture.
You have a lot of exiting projects going on can you tell us more about them..
During the past ten years i have been working on the complete works of Hans J. Wegner. Hopefully this results in a series of nine books, international exhibitions and a website that give all information about Wegner's furniture.First step in the process is an exhibition about Hans J. Wegner and Aarhus (in connection with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Aarhus city hall in 2016).
If you ask people on the street, only a few know that Wegner designed the furniture for Aarhus city hall, that he had his first studio in the city and that the earliest of Hans J. Wegner's furniture was produced by local cabinetmakers and furniture factories.
I hope to change this and promote Aarhus for its design and furniture history. the perspectives of branding the city is huge. the interest in danish design and especially Hans J. Wegner is increasing both in denmark and abroad. unfortunately, people only see the tip of the iceberg. i hope to tell the story of Hans J. Wegner before it melts away.
What is unique about the danish furniture scene & its heritage ?
A piece of furniture can be more than just a piece of furniture. it is the story, the ideas behind and the craftsmanship that makes it more than a utility.
For example, Hans J. Wegner is more than just a story about a chairmaker. Wegner's furniture is the story of Denmark's development and history. It is about cabinetmakers, industrialization, functionality and design. It is the story of world war 2 when a shortage of materials forced the architects to think creative. Hans J. Wegner was back in 1950 in many ways for Danish furniture design what Noma is for Danish food culture today. Wegner took the lead. He saw and took advantage of the quality of the Nordic materials and made Danish design international as an important part of a development.
Denmark's most skilled cabinetmakers and furniture designers collaborated for many years to develop and compete in new types of furniture, for the annual competitions. The product was a series of amazing and beautiful furniture in a new idiom. Denmark was put on the world map for its groundbreaking design and furniture. A time period known as Danish modern.
Collectors often describe the search, instead the actual purchase, as the most interesting part of Collecting, do you have it the same way..
It is the dream of a magnificent Wegner museum that drives me. I appreciate therefore both the purchase and the search. But the search will always be special. It gives a ”kick” to find a rare chair. People do extreme sports or use drugs to feel it, my "addiction" is to find furniture.
The renowned Japanese collector of danish furniture classics Mr Oda-San, recently visited you, how was this meeting established
The reason for our meeting was the award ceremony of the newly formed Wegner price in the city of Tønder where Professor Oda Noritsugu attend as guest of honor and award winner. Oda then visited me the following day. Among many things with a private tour at the Aarhus city hall.
Over the years i have with admiration and respect read about Japanese Oda Noritsugu. A man who symbolizes, represent and describe my own greatest dreams for the future. Meeting Oda-Sensei therefore was an honor.
What would be your advice for aspiring collectors today?
I read on a graffiti wall in Copenhagen in 1990: "fashion is a concept created for people with no taste".
We must not allow ourselves to be blinded by others' views on what is interesting. It is about finding your own focus and become expert in the field. If you are the brightest in your field, you will always have a justification. It's my best advice.
Do you have a specific item which is on your ”wish” list
The Wegner ”Crocodile cupboard” done by carver/cabinetmaker Mikael Laursen is on the top of my wish list. It is without a doubt the most beautiful piece of furniture i've seen. The cabinet has it all, history, aesthetics and is unpretentious with honest rawness. In addition, every carving in the closet describes and symbolizes the story of Wegner's own dream of becoming a carver/cabinetmaker.
Lasse is currently finishing the first 3 Wegner books in the line of 9 and working towards a Wegner exhibition at our local town-hall. We will give more info once lasses books are available for purchase.
Contact: Lasse H. Andersen – firstname.lastname@example.org