We’ve had a few cold, wet and windy days here in Todmorden recently – perhaps even some snow tonight. So it’s wood-burner lit, 6 Music radio on – and time to catch up with some recently arrived magazines and books.
This edition of Bookmarks comes courtesy of a lady we first featured on our blog five years ago.
Lucy Ryder Richardson is the co-founder of Modern Shows and is the author of this newly published book, 100 Midcentury Chairs.
As the title says, the author has chosen 100 chairs (and stools) from the era to highlight; some that are very famous – like Arne Jacobsen’s Ant and Egg chairs – and others that are less well known.
She interviewed the children and relatives of the designers to create unique portraits of each chair…
…the designers’ personal profiles and back stories, their influences, any specific sites that chairs were intended for or functions of the furniture, production techniques & processes and so on.
We love snippets of information such as Alvar Aalto designing the Paimio Armchair specifically for the tuberculosis hospital in Paiomo, south west Finland. It’s form is designed to position the tuberculosis patient at just the right angle to help them breath as they rested & recuperated. He was actually commissioned to design the whole hospital, so it’s full of his genius work.
And how about, Bruno Mattheson, designer of the Eva Chair, “perfecting the art of sitting by studying the shape his body made when he fell back into a snowdrift at different angles”.
The pages are dotted with quotes from the designers themselves, including Hans J. Wegner, Xavier Pauchard, Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames.
Pieces are featured in chronological order, spanning 40 years from the early 1930s to the early 1970s.
Interesting and informative, you’ll expand your knowledge of furniture design no end, and with almost 200 pages of full colour photographs, you’ll be able to swoon at chair heaven all along the journey.
And it’s not just furniture we learned about – the book is full of little anecdotes such as the fact that Ettore Sottsass’ red Valentine typewriter was launched on Valentines Day, 1970. Who knew?!
The directory at the back of the book contains an extensive list of international midcentury modern furniture dealers, auctions, fairs and events.
It’s a new, must read resource for all modernist furniture fans and collectors.
It’s one of those great books to dip in and out of – a few pages at a time with a cup of tea!
We do love a nice chair – in fact we’ve probably got about 10 more chairs than we actually need in our house. We’ve got another hundred now – but these can all fit neatly on a bookshelf!
This wonderful book comes highly recommended indeed and will provide us with an invaluable reference in future.
Buy yourself a copy of 100 Midcentury Chairs by Saturday 19th November here, and get FREE entry to the following day’s Midcentury Modern Show at Dulwich College, London. You’ll even be able to get it signed by the author. Alternatively, you can find it available on AbeBooks, Amazon or Hive.
[Many thanks to Pavilion Books for the review copy]