Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Most English Sofa

The Chesterfield Sofa

Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
 4th Earl of Chesterfield

It is said the 4th Earl of Chesterfield was the first person to commission a leather settee of the type we now know as a Chesterfield sofa. He was a patron of Voltaire, an accomplished writer and a trend-setter in his own time. Despite his tendency for progressive thinking, it is unlikely that he ever guessed one of the most appreciated aspects of his legacy would be his sitting couch. The Earl desired a seat which would allow him to remain comfortably upright without risk of wrinkling his clothes. A wide and low-set armchair with rolling arms and leather upholstery secured by deep buttons was the design he chose.
At his death, those who inherited the seat were so impressed with it that they set about making replicas. Today, the historic style has proliferated to a large extent. In Canada and parts of northern California the word “Chesterfield” is still understood to mean "sofa."
Chesterfield Sofa
The original Chesterfield began as an aristocrat’s armchair but, with the coming of the modern era, enjoyment of the design has expanded tremendously. It is now found inside homes and businesses anywhere, from living rooms and libraries to law offices and billiard lounges.

This high-backed sitting couch still evokes images of groomed men in sport coats or of tactful ladies in long skirts and ornate hats. It has endured with timeless dignity and practicality, and is still considered that most typically English of sofas.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Designer Spotlight

Børge Mogensen

Børge Mogensen Portrait
Scandinavia is synonymous across the world with progressiveness and innovation. Modern furniture designs from the region have confirmed this impression with buyers and collectors everywhere for decades at a time. Whether through superb functionality or a distinct aesthetic, Scandinavian design continues to enjoy an exceptional reputation.

Børge Mogensen helped conceptualize the idea of “Danish design” during his career as a furniture manufacturer and architect. Born in Aalborg, Denmark, he began as a cabinet maker before training as an architect at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

Mogensen showed interest in modern lifestyles and looked to create designs which integrated with them seamlessly. He paid great attention to the functionality of his pieces and made them with that purpose foremost in his mind. So concerned was he with optimization, that it is said he used to measure common domestic objects in order to determine the proper dimensional averages for shelving and storage plans.  During the 1950’s and 60’s he took it upon himself to produce a series of storage units which could accommodate every conceivable storage need in the modern home.

Børge Mogensen Armchair Replica

In his later career Mogensen succeeded friend, Kaare Klint, as designer to the Danish Museum of Decorative Art. He began to make more traditional works, but still focused closely on functionality. He possessed a talent for including modern ideas within traditional forms and did so for the whole of his career. In 1972 he was made Honorary Royal Designer for Industry, London.

Mogensen’s furniture is in high demand still. Replicas of his work may be purchased by those who appreciate his design philosophy and the crisp, Scandinavian aesthetic which he helped to cultivate.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Seat of Spanish Royals

Barcelona Chair

Barcelona Chair Replica

This mid-century piece of furniture was Germany’s submission to the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain.

The Barcelona Chair was of modern design but was produced to be the time-honoured seat of the Spanish Royalty during the opening ceremonies of the World Fair. It is a unique symbol of the transition between the old world and the modern era expressed within a single piece of furniture.

Contemporary reproductions are available with a combination of hand-crafting and finely machined elements. The chair’s sleek lines have been retained and refined with the addition of a solid, stainless steel base in the place of bolted components. The upholstery is of quality bovine leather and available in several colours here.