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Learning from the Bauhaus

Wilkhahn
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Wilkhahn and the Bauhaus students

Wilkhahn is one of those SMEs that evolves with each new generation. The company was founded as a business that crafted chairs made of beech by Christian Wilkening and Friedrich Hahne in 1907. When Fritz Hahne, the founder’s son, joined the company in 1947, the company quickly became very design focused. Design is a concept that didn’t take on its present-day meaning until the post-war period.

The Wilkhahn management building
The Wilkhahn management building

The Wilkhahn management building, based on plans by Bauhaus student Herbert Hirche, in Eimbeckhausen (1959), was the inspiration for the logo that Wilkhahn’s using for its Bauhaus centenary publications and events.

Fritz Hahne (on the right) at the site of the future branch in Espelkamp, 1954.

Georg Leowald’s Flexor chair, 1954. The exceptional comfort was due to the torsion spring made of fibreglass rods, which was positioned underneath the seat and a total sensation in the upholstered furniture industry at the time.

In 1957, Herbert Hirche designed the extensive 480 upholstered furniture range with linear and very delicate solid wood frames (bottom). As a variant, the 486 lounge chairs had feet made of compression-moulded laminated wood.

Similarly to all chair-making businesses in the region, Wilkening & Hahne was basically a large workshop until the mid-1950s.

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