Archive for the ‘Designers’ Category

Posted on March 10, 2012 - by

Is genuine

I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with the doom and gloom we hear in the press everyday. We all know it is tough out there, but if all we do is remind ourselves how tough it is, we are surely in danger of making it tougher for longer and thus we have a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I wondered, with bank interest rates so low, the housing market still pretty wobbly, is now a good time to invest in genuine designer furniture? All the main manufacturers of the mid-century Design creations by the likes of Eames, Sarrinen and Mies van DerRohe have put their prices up by at least 6% year on year again – some by as much as 9%! So it gets you thinking – better to buy one now before the prices go up again? And there is no doubt that these pieces hold their value pretty well too, some people prefer their Designer pieces to have already lived. If you are in the market for an Authorised Original, Hopefully our site can help you spot whether it is indeed Original. Vitra’s new price list comes into play on 1st February 2012, so you don’t have long on that one…

Posted on June 18, 2009 - by

Wassily Chair

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Posted on April 18, 2009 - by

Eames Lobby Chair

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Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll TimelineFlorence Knoll

Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, USA

The legendary designer, Eero Saarinen, took Florence Schust as his protégé, while he taught and she studied architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. From there she went on to further her studies at the London Architectural Association and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

After spending time in the employment of Wallace K. Harrison, Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, she married Hans Knoll in 1946. The couple soon formed the distinguished furniture company, Knoll Associates. To this day Knoll International still own the rights to produce all Florence Knoll furniture pieces under license. So if it isn’t made by Knoll, it’s a copy. The Florence Knoll sofa, designed in 1954, still looks extremely “modern” today with its clean lines and trademark button detailing.

An exceptional architect and designer, Florence Knoll pioneered the Knoll Planning Unit -an approach to interiors that threw out conventional practices of the time. Her philosophy for interior space planning was in ‘total design’, which was to consider all elements while conceiving a project, i.e textiles, manufacturing, interior design, architecture, graphics and even advertising and presentation.

Florence Knoll’s groundbreaking techniques are still widely adopted in contemporary projects and in keeping with this legacy, she was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts’ prestigious National Medal of Arts in 2002.

Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

Poul Kjærholm

PK Timeline

POUL KJÆRHOLM 1929 – 1980

Poul Kjærholm was a trained carpenter and continued his studies at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts.

Poul Kjærholm was born in a small village in Denmark, and at the age of only 15, he was apprenticed to a local master cabinetmaker. Having obtained his apprenticeship, young Kjærholm left his childhood region and went to Copenhagen where he was admitted to study at The Danish School of Arts and Crafts. Here he studied under Hans J. Wegner. He was also heavily influenced by international designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the radical, Dutch minimalist Gerrit Rietveld.

Poul Kjærholm proved his unique talent already in his early years at the Arts and Crafts school, when he engaged in bold and visionary experiments with novel materials and production technologies. Thus, in 1950 Poul Kjærholm developed the basic concept for a radical new series of furniture in compression-moulded plywood, the PK0 chair. This sculptural and futuristic piece of furniture challenged all norms in traditional furniture design at the time.

In 1955 Poul Kjærholm initiated his collaboration with manufacturer Ejvind Kold Christensen, which lasted until Poul Kjærholm’s death in 1980.

In1956 Kjærholm acheived his commercial breakthrough, when the elegant PK22™ lounge chair was put into production at Kold Christensen’s. The chair stands up to comparison with the world famous Barcelona chair designed by Kjærholm’s  idol, van der Rohe back in 1929.  Everything in this unique chair has been worked out carefully down to the smallest detail, and Kjærholm made it a point of honour to perfect even hidden joints, something which imposed very high demands on the quality of the craftsmanship during production.

The unique design themes of the PK22™ are reiterated by Poul Kjærholm in various later creations, such as the PK24™ chaise longue from 1965 and the Bauhaus inspired PK20™ lounge chair from 1967 where the characteristic, elegant lines of the PK22™ are found.

Kjærholm had a particular interest in different construction materials; especially steel which he considered a natural material with the same artistic fineness as other natural materials.

In 1982, Fritz Hansen took over the production and sales of “The Kjærholm Collection”, developed from 1951 to 1967. To this day all Authorised Original Poul Kjærholm furniture is made by Fritz Hansen; if it isn’t made by Fritz Hansen it’s a copy.

In 2007 Fritz Hansen added two new pieces to the Kjærholm Collection. Pieces that were never in production before: the PK8™ side chair; and PK58™ dining table.

Today the production adheres to the same rigorous demands in quality and processing as before, and Fritz Hansen has made it a point of honour to maintain partnership with the many dedicated subcontractors who from the very beginning have had a great influence on the uncompromising production of these design icons.

Find Me The Original PK22 Video

Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

Jean Prouvé

Jean Prouvé
(1901 – 1984)

Birthplace: Paris, France

Jean Prouvé trained under Emile Robert in Paris as a metal artisan. He established his own workshop in 1924, in Nancy, and soon launched his first range of formed sheet steel furniture. In 1930 he founded the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM) with a group of his contemporaries.

Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, his own manufacturing business, was set up in 1931. The company developed a broad range of furniture design throughout at the 1930s and also branched out into architectural design. Working with the architects Lods and Beaudoin, Prouvé produced glass-and-steel components for Maison du Peuple in Clichy.

Throughout WWII steel was a scarce commodity so Prouvé began producing wooden furniture, complementing his designs with prefabricated components for housing. In reward of his involvement in the French Résistance, he became Mayor of Nancy following the city’s liberation. During this period his 200 employee-strong Maxéville factory produced furnishings and designs for schools, prefabricated homes and even residential buildings for the homeless. Due to the large demand for furniture at that time he made Steph Simon director of the factory in 1949, as a separate division of his business. Following shareholder disagreements in 1953 he disassociated himself from the company altogether, and from his own designs, he built a new home for himself in 1954.

In 1957 he was appointed Head of Compagnie Industrielle de Matériel de Transport (CIMT), a Paris based construction office, leaving in 1968 to set up his own architectural consultancy where he worked until 1984. During this period he took up a number of other posts, including working as a lecturer at the Paris Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) between 1957 and 1970, and standing as Jury Chairman for the Centre Pompidou architectural competition in 1971. As Chairman he selected the winning designs of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano.

Prouvé returned to furniture design in 1980 and worked prolifically in the discipline until his death in 1984. His designs are regarded to have expertly united functionality with economical concerns while meeting the demands of mass production. Since 2002 Vitra has worked closely with the Prouvé family in reproducing an extensive range of his most popular and lauded designs. You can be sure of authenticity by the presence of a Vitra logo on Prouvés designs.

Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

Verner Panton

Verner Panton
(1926 – 1998)

Birthplace: Gamtofte, Denmark

Verner Panton studied at the Odense Technical College and then took architecture at the Copenhagen Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. From 1950-52 he worked for Arne Jacobsen at his architectural office before establishing his own design and architecture studio in 1955. From there he began developing furniture designs of geometric form, which he produced under commission for the furniture company, Plus-linje.

Panton’s passion for geometric shapes and bright colouring led him to branch out into a range of textiles, furniture design, upholstery, and even lighting. His permanent place in the history of design was secured by his approach to viewing a room or space as a unified whole or ‘gesamtkunstwerk’. His most celebrated works were designed between 1968 and 1970, for the Cologne Furniture Fair, where he exhibited his ‘Visiona’ ship installations, and for the Varna restaurant in Aarhus and the Spiegel publishing headquarters in Hamburg.

In the early 1960s Panton began working with Vitra, where in 1967 he created his most famous furniture design, the S-shaped ‘Panton Chair’. Panton also heralded a new period for the company because his chair was the first independent, Vitra-developed product. Vitra still own the license for production of Panton’s key designs including the still-popular Panton Chair and the more relaxed Amoebe Chair. If it’s not made by Vitra, it’s a copy.

In 1998 Verner Panton died in Copenhagen.

Find Me The Original Panton Chair Video

Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

Isamu Noguchi

Isamu NoguchiIsamu Noguchi

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

Isamu Noguchi was son to the American writer Leonie Gilmour and the Japanese poet Yone Noguchi. As a student he spent time at both Columbia University and the Leonardo da Vinci Art School.

In 1927 he set up his first independent studio and became the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. Working for Constantin Brancusi as an assistant in Paris prepared him for his first New York exhibition. Noguchi also worked with ceramics in Japan under Jinmatsu Uno and went to China to practice brush drawing. This wide range of cultural influences is clearly perceptible in his designs.

Isamu Noguchi developed a foundation in sculpture but was able transpose his talents into interior and outdoor design, stage sets, furniture and even lighting. His truly diverse talent meant he was able to easily span cultural differences and a variety of design disciplines, which ultimately he was driven to do by paternal influence. In a proposal for the Guggenheim Fellowship he wrote: “My father, Yone Noguchi, is Japanese and has long been known as an interpreter of the East to the West, through poetry. I wish to fulfil my heritage through design”.

Noguchi’s ‘Coffee Table’ was the piece of furniture design he felt most proud of, it evolved directly from the bronze and marble sculptures he was producing at the time, translating an art work into a piece of sculptural interior design. The beautiful, minimal table is made up of a glass top resting on two identical wooden supports at right angles. Today Vitra owns the license to produce the Noguchi Coffee Table. This table is copied prolifically, but you can be sure that if it is made by Vitra, it’s an Authorised Original.

Isamu Noguchi died in New York in 1988.

Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

George Nelson

George Nelson
George Nelson

Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Following his time studying architecture at Yale University, George Nelson took a fellowship from 1932-34, continuing his studies at the American Academy in Rome. His time in Europe afforded him the chance to be surrounded by some of the most significant, modernist architectural works of the period.

In 1935 he became a member of the editorial team at the Architectural Forum, a position he stayed in until 1944 when his reputation brought him a new challenge. D.J. DePree, head of the furniture company Herman Miller, read an article penned by Nelson on furniture design and residential building, published in the Architectural Forum. Alerted to Nelson’s talent, DePree offered him a position as Director of Design. He worked at Herman Miller until 1972, where he built a legacy in American design and became highly influential on his contemporaries. During his time in the company, Nelson brought several significant talents into the Herman Miller fold, including Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and Isamu Noguchi.

From the mid 1940s onwards, Nelson also ran his own design office, and in 1957 he began working with the furniture company Vitra, with whom he built a significant portfolio. This prolific work ethic produced many iconic designs of mid-century American modernism. To this today Vitra still owns the license to produce the Nelson furniture and accessories range including the Nelson Coconut chair and his range of wall and desk clocks. So if it isn’t made by Vitra, it’s a copy.

In 1986, George Nelson died in New York.

Posted on December 9, 2008 - by

Warren Platner

platner timeline
Warren Platner

Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Warren Platner began his career in design at Cornell University, where he studied architecture, graduating in 1941. He cut his teeth in the commercial world by working with some of the most legendary and iconic designers of the 20th century, including I. M. Pei, Eero Saarinen and Raymond Loewy.

Platner’s trademark style of furniture design evolved from his immersing himself in working with steel wire. He created chairs with intricate mesh steel bases and upholstered seats that blurred the lines between interior and exterior spaces, and in this medium he created a stylised range including his classic ‘Wire Lounge Chair’. The chair is complemented by the Platner coffee table, dining table and stool. Today Knoll International still owns the rights to produce all the key Platner furniture pieces under license. So if it isn’t made by Knoll, it’s a copy.

Platner’s commissions were for both commercial and residential buildings and spaces. He worked on iconic projects for high profile buildings such as the interior of the Georg Jensen Design Centre in New York, and what was once the Windows on the World Restaurant in the World Trade Centre.