Papa Bear Chair is an iconic piece of retro furniture, offering stunning simplicity, oversized armrests and the feeling of being “hugged.” Hans Wegner’s chair is a work of art that has led enthusiasts to try and restore originals and replica companies to work on reproducing this chair’s appeal.
The Story Behind the Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair
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Hans Wegner is known for his work in the modernism movement, offering chair designs that embraced the modern Danish style. Born in 1914 and living until 2007, he was an iconic chair maker that introduced the Papa Bear Chair to the world.
Understanding the style of the chair and why it’s still a success requires you to know the man behind the design.
Wegner started his career by creating stunning furniture for Aarhus City Hall in 1938. The project took three years to complete, and the iconic pieces are memorialized in photographs still found in the Hall.
His first professional commission for furniture was a major success, leading Wegner to work with other big names.
Fast forward to 1951, his works were promoted by Salesco A/S. Commercial success overseas led to partnerships with many big names, including A.P. Stolen.
A.P. Stolen helped Wegner hone his craft further, leading to the Papa Bear Chair (AP19).
Two years later, A.P. began producing the chair with the help of a subcontractor who produced the wood frame. Sometimes referred to as the “Teddy Bear Chair,” A.P. would produce the chair for decades before it went out of production.
Wegner lived long enough to see the frame manufacturing company, PP Møbler, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Papa Bear Chair that they helped produce 50 years earlier. The celebration included reproducing the chair, which led to a revival in the chair’s comfort, allure and “hugging” feeling.
More than 100 production processes are involved in creating the Papa Bear Chair.
Why the Papa Bear Chair?
Papa Bear was not going to be the chair’s original name. Instead, A.P. was going to name it like the other chairs they produced and keep it simply AP19 until something interesting transpired.
A journalist came to sit on the chair
While sitting, he said that the experience felt like someone was hugging him
The chair even felt like it had “paws,” thanks to the unique armrests
This reporter called this the Papa Bear Chair in his review, and A.P. decided to market the chair under this name. Little did the reporter know that the chair he helped name would remain part of upscale furniture in the 21st century.
Where to Buy the Papa Bear Chair
Getting your hands on an original Papa Bear chair isn’t easy unless you have a very high budget. But anyone who is a fan of Hans Wegner and this iconic chair knows that it is worth every penny and the wait to purchase one.
You may be able to find a second-hand Papa Bear Chair, but they rarely pop up on the market, and when they do, they’re gone in a flash.
So, what are your options? Kardiel offers affordable reproductions of this chair. If you have the budget, Twentytwentyone has the real deal.
Kardiel’s Papa Bear series features reproductions of this mid-century modern chair. The company uses responsible standards when creating replicas of the original design, particularly when it comes to the frame, pleats and fabric selection.
Kardiel’s collection of Papa Bear replica chairs includes:
Papa Bear Indigenous Boucle Chair and Ottoman
The Papa Bear Boucle chair and ottoman are made with an indigenous boucle that’s exceptionally durable and has a natural feel.
This curly fabric has a weight of 590 grams per square meter and natural variations that make it comfortable and beautiful. The contents of the fabric are 95% polyester and 5% acrylic.
Adding to the durability of this chair is the solid American Ash frame. For added comfort, the seat cushion features multi-density foam.
The chair also comes with a matching ottoman, both of which are crafted and stitched by hand.
Papa Bear Vintage Tailored Twill Chair and Ottoman
Kardiel also offers a variation of the Papa Bear chair made with vintage tailored twill, which is comprised of 60% linen, 20% cotton and 20% nylon. The fine and tightly trailered weave appearance gives this chair a more refined look.
If you prefer a more luxurious chair fabric, you can find this fabric in velvet form. Kardiel’s Papa Bear Plush Velvet chair features micro-velvet vintage tailored twill fabric. While low maintenance, this fabric doesn’t compromise on comfort and elegance.
Both of these chairs feature a solid American Walnut and Alter wood frame for high durability and a beautiful finish.
All Kardiel Papa Bear Chair Dimensions
35.5” W x 39” D x 38.2” H
22.5” x 21” seat
The Original Papa Bear Chair at Twentytwentyone
Want a real Papa Bear chair? Head over to Twentytwentyone. They sell the Papa Bear chair by Hans Wegner for the Danish manufacturer PP Mobler. These chairs are made to order and have a starting price of £19,255.
Multiple wood, upholstery and finish options are available.
Wood: Oak, ash, cherry or walnut
Finishes: White bio oil, soap treated or clear bi oil
Upholstery: Fabric or leather
The options you choose will determine the final cost of the chair. Chairs take anywhere from 18-20 weeks to be manufactured. The ottoman is sold separately. You can also choose to use your own fabric to create the chair.
Papa Bear Chair remains one of the most sought-after pieces of retro furniture on the market over 70 years after its original release. Owners of the chair still insist that they feel like they’re being “hugged” while relaxing in Wegner’s design.
Used models of the chair still exist today, and some owners are trying to refurbish them.
Replicas often offer a better overall build with less of an investment than restoring the original. With fun fabric colors and impeccable style, replicas meet the same vision that Wegner had for the Papa Bear Chair back in 1951.