A small sideboard originally made for Heals, London in the 1940s-50s by Vesper furniture company (Note: The small circular hole can be seen above one drawer where the Heals label would have been). Inside the drawers are made bent beech plywood.
We have two of these available as well as a small set of drawers. We believe that the sideboard was part of a set of bedroom furniture made by Vesper furniture for Heals in very limited numbers in the late 40s/ early 50s – very rare. It has design similarities to the 1950s designs by Dutch designer Cees Braakman for Pastoe furniture.
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.
Rare version of the “Kakkonen” stackable armchair No. 2. /15. Manufactured by Oy Huonekalu-ja Rakennustyötehdas Ab, Turku, Finland. 1930s.
Finmar label to the underside.
A good example of Aaltos formative years and early designs; this chair is made from laminated and solid birch and retains its original black finish.
Co-designed by Alvar Aalto and Otto Korhonen in 1930, the chair was manufactured over the years as four differing versions. This version is the rarest of the four. The design is similar to one of other versions in that the front legs protrude at the side. However, the front edge of the seat on this version is formed as a more severe right angle as shown in the detail fig.1 (The other version with protruding legs was rounded at the front). It also has a small decorative corner feature when seen from the front that is reminiscent of traditional Chinese chairs.
The chair was illustrated in Alvar Aalto Designer, Alvar Aalto museum p.69 and in Alvar & Aino design collection Bischofberger p.21
Neil Morris joined his fathers well establish furniture making company in Scotland in 1938. With him he brought many new ideas for utilising the new techniques available for laminating plywood. His designs were influenced by much of the new modernist furniture he witnessed from Scandinavia. H.Morris specialised in making very thick plywood forms and were prepared to push the material to its limits, thus creating many new and innovative forms that were on the cutting edge of modernist design.
“Buoyed by a reputation for excellence, the company, with Neil Morris at the helm, set about wowing the world in yet another way – cutting edge contemporary design. With post-war rationing placing constraints on manufacturing through a necessity to use lightweight materials, furniture production required something of a creative shot in the arm, and once again the eyes of the industry looked to Morris Furniture for inspiration. Whilst other companies saw the situation as a problem, the visionary Neil Morris saw only an opportunity to alter people’s perceptions of furniture design. The result was the iconic Cloud table – a piece which won numerous design awards and still occupies a proud position today in New York’s prestigious Guggenheim museum alongside the celebrated Bambi Chair. Following the success and recognition of the cloud table, Morris Furniture experienced a period of steady growth within the furniture sector. Branching out in to additional areas as diverse as the leisure, commercial, and educational sectors, the firm demonstrated its unrivalled versatility…There was a sense of inclusion that everyone should be able to enjoy the great style and craftsmanship that came with every Morris Furniture product. This was brought further to the attention of the masses in 1958 when the company was actively involved in the promotion of all that was great and good with British furniture in the Festival of Britain”
Model E90, lacquered plywood birch stacking stool. Designed 1933 – Finmar label
This is an early and rare version of this iconic 1930s design.
Finmar were a wholesale company who imported Aalto design plywood furniture from Finland to the UK during the early c20th. The Finmar label is one of the few ways of certifying an early version of this stool.
We are still researching this small table. It has similarities to various under-appreciated early British modernist designer/makers from the early c20th including Gerald Summers, Isokon/ Jack Pritchard etc. and captures the spirit of the early British constructivist architects and artists.
A handful of designer/makers like Summers and Isokon used plywood before the WWII. Unlike most other furniture makers of the day, they did not feel compelled to cover it in a veneer of a more exotic wood. In the early 30s Summers began to experiment with a special kind of plywood called “aeroplane ply” and, as Martha Deese wrote in the Journal of Design History, “this exceptionally thin and flexible material had a revolutionary impact on Summers’s emerging style” (Martha Deese, “Gerald Summers and Makers of Simple Furniture,” Journal of Design History, vol. 5, no. 3 (1992), pp. 183–205). During the period plywood enabled designers to evolve an organic idiom of curved surfaces and curvilinear outlines, which exploited the inherent capabilities of this pliable material. (*Cerio,2009)
The base of its sculptural design is made from 3mm aeroplane ply. The top that swivels around the base in three section can be folded away or left up as shown. The top is a thicker plywood.
Model E90, plywood birch stacking stool. Designed 1933
This is an early and rare version of this iconic 1930s design.
Finmar were a wholesale company who imported Aalto design plywood furniture from Finland to the UK between 1934-65. H.G.Dunn & Sons were one of the few furniture retailers supplied by Finmar from the 1930s. (the UK had very few retailers of modernist furniture at that time)
This stool retains its original label for H.G.Dunn & Sons, House furnishers Bromley.
This is a rare version with upholstered seat. It retains its original blue fabric (although a section is missing as seen).