Once the plywood has hardened, a worker wearing sound-suppressing earmuffs places the pieces, three at a time, into the factory’s computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine. The milling machine cuts the signature Series 7 silhouette into the molded forms—–though by simply changing which pattern is selected, the machine can also create Jacobsen’s Ant or Lily chairs from the same pieces of molded plywood.
The newly cut chairs are sent in stacks to skilled craftsmen, who hand-sand and inspect each seat. Quality is carefully controlled, and if there are any imperfections, the chair is cut in half and thrown away. “Few people buy our chairs just to sit on them; they’re way too expensive and highly designed,” says Jacob Holm, president and CEO of Fritz Hansen. The reason Danes of all classes purchase the pricey product is cultural: “It’s very dark in Denmark in the winter so we need to have beautiful homes,” Holm says.
In a caged-off area near the craftsmen, a machine attaches plastic discs—–onto which the legs are later mounted—–to the undersides of the seats using ultraviolet light–cured glue. Five seconds after the discs are stuck on, the machine tries to tear them off with over 1,320 pounds of force. If the disc stays put, it’ll stay there for life, Touborg says.