watch the birdie

Thursday, 30 September 2010

We're now on twitter ...... click on the tab on the right-hand side to see what we are up to.  And in keeping with today's birdie theme, here is a little collection of bird chairs we've put together.


Harry Bertoia's Bird Chair dates from the 1950s


Tom Dixon's Bird Chaise Longue

Images:  Treadway, Retrospec 

New moon

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Our covetable (urmmmmmh?) chair of the week award goes to Belgian designer Gerd Couckhuyt for The MoonLounger, produced for Wildspirit



Images:  Contemporist

From Denmark With Love

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

We're feeling particularly envious of an American friend about to head off on a solo mission to Copenhagen.  So with this in mind, we thought we'd do a piece about a famous "American" designer who originated from Denmark ..... none other than Jens Risom. 

Risom's furniture from the 1950s and 1960s is very down to earth and functional, but still has enormous elegance. It is a fusion of the craft tradition he learned in Denmark with American modernism and the hi-tech of American production methods.  It is significant that he always wants to be known as a Danish-born American designer, not a Danish designer.  In fact, Risom himself stated that he "developed an American version of Scandinavian modern furniture".

Here are just a few of Risom's classic designs ...…


1171 Chair, 1969

C 160 Armchair, 1967

652 W Armchair, 1942

C 120 Armchair, 1949

U 140 Armchair, 1950

654 W Side Chair, 1942

And you may be please do know that Jens Risom has recently collaborated with Rocket Gallery and Benchmark to reissue some of his 1950s and 1960s designs .....

The 'U 431' low armless chair first appeared in the 1955 catalogue of Jens Risom Design Inc, 
but by the 1959 edition it was no longer in production.

The 'C 275' side chair was designed in 1957 and first appeared in the 
Jens Risom Design 'Contemporary Furniture Catalog Supplement' of that year.

We wish our American friend bon voyage;  here's hoping they'll have room in their suitcase for a few mid-century souvenirs!!

Credits/Images:  Jens Risom Furniture, Decopedia, London Design GuideWallpaper*

pea green with envy

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Saturday mornings at chez chairsmith mean lounging around, drinking hot tea and reading the papers.  It was whilst partaking in these energetic activities this morning that we spotted a quite beautiful chair as we flicked through the style pages.  The specimen in question was a revolving 'Take A Line For A Walk' armchair upholstered in a stunning pea green coloured fabric.  We downed tools without further ado and fired up the old laptop in an attempt to track down this creature;  and failed ...... although we did find a few pics of this interestingly named chair by Alfredo Häberli, but with a base of steel tubing which incorporates a foot rest.



We would like one please, please, pretty please;  or anything else from our pea green wish list .......
'H57' lounge chair designed by Herbert Hirche in 1957 (reissued)

Hirche's 'Outdoor Lounge Chair' dates from around 1953

Images:  Moroso and Bonluxat (Take A Line For A Walk), Twentytwentyone (H57), StylePark (Outdoor Lounge Chair)

First class

Thursday, 23 September 2010

We forgot to stamp the last post ...…..



Image:  Royal Mail

Lesson of the day

We've been reminiscing about the care-free days spent at primary school; when the only worries we had were school dinners and not knowing our hymns off-by-heart during singing practice; the days when our names were lovingly sewn into our clothes, our gloves hung from elastic which had been threaded through the sleeves of our coats, Clarks' shoes, satchels, daps, playing kiss chase, and those tiny little chairs that filled every class room.

And that neatly leads us to the topic of today's tutorial; the humble school chair.


Plywood stacking chairs dating from the 1950s and designed by the Packet Futniture company. Who remembers the coloured dots on the back?


P.E.L./Cox stacking chair dating from the 1930s. Produced in large numbers between the 1930s and 1950's by all the large industrial furniture companies of the time, P.E.L., Cox and Remploy, these chairs do not usually house a makers-mark, although there are slight variations in the design build. The general design is one which covers all practicalities; sturdy, light-weight and space saving in their ability to stack. 


A newer version of the P.E.L./Cox chair dating from around the late 1960s.


Stacking chairs dating from the 1950s with grey/greenish tubular metal frame and wooden seat/back rest.


Ercol's stacking chairs date from the late 1950s and came in different sizes; each size had its own coloured dot on the back. A red dot signified the chair was designed for smaller children, then came the blue dot for larger children, and next up the green dot.



We are all guilty of taking the 'Polypropylene Chair' designed by Robin Day for granted, aren't we??

And new for this term, Very Good & Proper has introduced a 'Canteen Utility Chair' inspired by the ubiquitous post war school chair.


Images: Lassco (1950s plywood stacking chairs), Styling & Salvage (1930's P.E.L./Cox), Elemental (1960's P.E.L./Cox), Pigeon Vintage (1950s stacking chairs), The Teakweasel (Ercol stacking chairs), Design Technology Department (Polypropylene chair)

going underground

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

We were out and about in the Big Smoke this morning and the Underground of all places gave us some good old fashioned inspiration for today's post.  As we were winging our way around town post-rush hour we managed to bag a seat;  a good old fashioned moquette covered seat.  So we thought we'd do a piece on London Underground's infamous connection with moquette.

Here are a few of our favourite designs from yesteryear.


'Colindale' or 'Leaf ' was designed by Marion Dorn in 1937 and features a stylised leaf pattern. The design was produced for London Passenger Transport Board in several different colourways and was first used on Tube stock in 1938 and it was used on the Northern line in 1939.

The 'Double Diamond' is another pattern in greens and reds used in the late1930s and 1940s. Officially called 'Brent', the fabric was designed by Enid Marx in around 1937.

The 'Chevron' design is a geometric pattern consisting of a light green grid overlaid by diagonal red stripes and checks in the form of a 'chevron', on a dark green background.  Designed by Enid Marx in 1938, this moquette was used to re-upholster seats on 1938 Surface Stock trains. On vehicles for the Piccadilly and Central lines it was teamed with red leather arm rests.

'Shield' is a repeating geometric pattern of interlocked diamond and lozenge shapes in red and light green on a dark green background.  Again designed by Enid Marx, this time in 1945, it is believed moquette of this pattern was widely used on the refurbished 1938 stock from 1945. It was teamed with green leather armrests on vehicles for the Bakerloo, Northern and District lines.

The 'Roundel'  design features a circle with light and dark green sections overlaid with a red roundel motif within another red circle. This is mounted diagonally within a diamond pattern formed from red, light green and dark green lines.  Designed by Eddie Chapman in 1947, it is not known exactly what vehicles this moquette was used on.  However, it is believed that it may have been used during a refurbishment of 1938 stock Underground trains.

This tartan style fabric was designed by industrial designer Douglas Scott, who was responsible for the interior and exterior styling of the Routemaster bus. The pattern features horizontal bands of maroon, brown and light green pile interspersed with vertical lines of yellow loop pile. It was designed specifically to echo the interior colour scheme of the vehicle: yellow ceilings, red lower sides and green seat backs.

Want to know more ...... well London Transport Museum is holding a "Moquette For London" design evening on Wednesday 22 September 2010.  The event will offer an insight into the moquette brand and identity, design legacy and history .......... press here for details.

Credits/Images:  London Transport Museum Shop

Saddle up

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The "Sella" was designed by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.  Dating from 1957, it was deemed too radical to put into production until 1983.  We're soooooo glad that it was.  We've had the pleasure of sitting on one of these iconic "saddle" stools;  boy, was it fun!!



Image:  Unicahome

Saturday night fever

Saturday, 18 September 2010

As Saturday night is fast approaching we thought we'd feature a few chairs that have real disco appeal ...


Commissioned by Wallpaper* Magazine, the Disco Chair was created by Kiwi & Pom, a London design studio.  The Disco Chair is a custom illuminated furniture concept.  Constructed from 200 linear meters of Electroluminescent wire, the chair transforms to a neon rainbow when powered.  A pulse setting enables the chair to flash on and off creating an instant disco installation.  Cool!


The LightBench has a lighting function and can be used either indoors or outside.  It uses technology which allows easy customisation of different colour shades.  A fixed hue or an ever changing palette of colours are options.  The user can pre-program the colour selection with an easy to use remote control.  The LightBench was designed by Lutz Hopbach and is manufactured by Frellstedt (Germany).


We haven't been able to find out anything about this chair ...... but we like, very much!


The Coron is a hand-crafted, self-illuminating light chair - just plug it in and turn it on!  The Coron's light source comes from six self-contained fluorescent fixtures that are accessible from the bottom of the chair.  The chair is made from polypropylene sheets, polished aluminium and vinyl upholstery.



The Rough Diamond collection by Lee Broom features six neon-embellished chairs. Broom sourced vintage furniture and used light to update classic pieces into contemporary statements. The leather Club Chair takes a traditional Chesterfield but replaces the 85 buttons with fairground light bulbs.


Be careful not to sit on this one;  its a 3D neon light!


Credits/Images:  Kiwi & Pom (Disco Chair), Trend Hunter (LightBench), Opulent Items (Coron), Luxury Insider (Club Chair), Let There Be Neon (Neon Chair Light)

Come on Eileen

Friday, 17 September 2010

We thought we'd do a piece on Eileen Gray because, well, she's quite something.  Gray is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century and the most influential woman in these fields.  At a time when other leading designers were almost all male and mostly members of one movement or another she remained stalwartly independent.

Here are some of our favourite pieces by the late, great, Ms Gray.

Around 1925, Gray turned her attention to Modernism and the so-called Transat Chair (1925-1929) shows her continuing interest in beautifully finished materials but the geometry of its design indicates her new direction.


Gray's Day Bed (1925) is directly attributed to the work she accomplished while commissioned by Madame Mathieu-Levy for her Parisian apartment in Rue de Lota.  It was regarded as one of the most sensational examples of French interior architecture of the 1920's.

Gray commented quite pragmatically on the Non-conformist Chair (1926) describing her work in typical understatement: "An armrest was omitted in order to leave the body more freedom in movement and to allow it to bend forward or to turn to the other side unrestricted".

Gray's voluptuous leather and tubular steel Bibendum Chair (1929) was inspired at the time by the tubular steel experiments of Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus and is now a familiar icon.


Designed in 1932, the Roquebrune Chair was named by Gray after the house in Roquebrune for which it was originally created.

Conceived as a piece for drawing rooms, Gray found the Bonaparte Chair (1935) so pleasant that she used it for decades as her desk chair in her Paris home at Rue Bonaparte.

More butterflies

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Our first post has given us a great idea for our second.  Which butterfly is your favourite?  It's a tricky one ....... we just can't choose between the Series 7 and the Ercol.

Arne Jacobsen's Series 7 (3107) was designed in 1955. It takes nine sheets of veneer, two layers of cotton backing, up to five coats of paint and 11 days to make a 3107. Phew! It is the classic chair often designated as The Butterfly.

Launched in 1958, Ercol's Butterfly Chair showcased their extensive development work which enabled the bending of thick wood laminations to create the beautiful curves of this chair. This butterfly is beautifully crafted in beech and elm and has recently been relauched as part of the Ercol Originals range.

Pierre Paulin's Butterfly Chair dates from 1964. Still unconventional after all these years, this butterfly is Paulin's answer to The Bauhaus. A wink and a nod to Mies, Breuer and Le Corbusier?



Designed by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy in 1938 this Butterfly Chair houses a brown leather sling seat on a steel frame.
 

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