Marcel Breuer (Hungarian, 1902-1981)
Isokon Long Chair (early 1960s production) – Upholstered plywood
The Hungarian-born, modernist architect and furniture designer was one of the masters of Modernism. Breuer extended the sculptural vocabulary he had developed in the carpentry shop at the Bauhaus into a personal architecture that made him one of the world’s most popular architects at the peak of 20th-Century design.
Breuer came to Britain in the mid-1930s following the closure of the Bauhaus by the Nazis. He became acquainted with Jack Pritchard the owner of Isokon, who suggested he design furniture for the company. Pritchard had become interested in the plywood designs of Alvar Aalto and wanted to produce similar furniture himself. The Long Chair was an adaptation of a previous design for an aluminium framed chaise Breuer had produced in 1932.
The Long Chair was designed by Breuer for the British Isokon company in 1935-36 and is considered one of the most important pieces of furniture to emerge from the inter-war modern movement.
In 1968, Pritchard licensed John Alan Designs, based in Camden, London to produce the Long Chair – John Alan manufactured the chair according to larger measurements in order to make the chair more 60s-friendly. This chair is thought to pre-date that period as it still retains the older smaller measurements. The upholstery is showing distinct signs of age and use.
Poul Kjærholm (Denmark 1929-1980)
PK55 Ash wood and brushed steel dining table
1970s production. (Unmarked)
The use of steel and Allen bolts to connect the frames allowed Kjaerholm to avoid the, sometimes, imprecise process of welding. It also fulfilled his desire to show how the frames were connected, thus providing a clear legibility to his designs, and led him towards creating his first work desk and compatible chair – the PK 55 and PK 11, which appeared in 1957.
The simple looking build of the PK55 table belies a much more interesting design than is apparent at first glance. The steel base frame is actually composed of four lengths of flat steel, intersecting at each corner, with the short end leg propping up the longer, width-spanning leg. Each leg element is held together yet simultaneously pushed slightly apart with Allen bolts to give the base frame an even lighter profile and also to reveal the four separate planes.
This work table features an ash table top and satin brushed steel frame.
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Jan van Grunsven (Dutch c20th)
This Scissor sofa was designed by architect Jan van Grunsven in 1959 and was produced by UMS/Pastoe in Utrecht. It has laminated layers of plywood and the original grey-brown wool upholstery and Dunlop foam. Van Grunsven worked as an architect in Gerrit Rietveld’s studio during the 1950s -1960s.
1950s celestial floor lamp. Designer / manufacturer unknown.