Gerald Summers Bent Ply Chair
Designed Circa 1935
Designed by Gerald Summers (1899-1967)
Made by 'Makers of Simple Furniture' (1932 - 1940)
This strikingly designed, ingenious chair has the legs and back supports made from two cut and bent pieces of plywood whose 'N' shaped forms support the gently curving seat and back. The Summers' family believe this rare chair to be the only known surviving example. It is described in the 'Makers of Simple Furniture' catalogue sheet as, "Suitable for occasional or dining use. Constructed of selected birch and finished in clear polish".
The most innovative designer in Britain in the 1930’s Gerald Summers’ significance is only now being appreciated as emphasis has heretofore been placed upon the achievements of European and Scandinavian designers and because ‘Makers of Simple Furniture’ was a small company, producing mainly to order, without the publicity machine of larger workshops.
Originally offered through Heals, Harrods and select department stores in the US, examples of Summers' designs are now held by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany.
Height 71 cm width 45 cm depth 52 cm (28 x 17.5 x 20.5 in)
1000 Chairs and Peter Fiell, Cologne 2000 p.232. 100 Masterpieces Vitra Design Museum
Design for Today 1934
A History of British Design 1839-1970 Fiona McCarthy pub.1972
Furnishing the Small Home published London and New York 1930’s by the Studio Ltd.
The Design History Journal 1992 Vol.5 No.3 - precis of Masters' thesis by Martha Deese, Metropolitan Museum New York
Bent Wood and Metal Furniture 1850-1946 University of Washington Press edited by Derek E. Ostergard
Museums & Exhibitions:
MoMA - current exhibition: The Magic of Plywood
Victoria & Albert Museum: A Bent Plywood Armchair is displayed in the new 20th Century Furniture Galleries which opened in December 2012
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Vitra Design Museum
Thirties British Art and Design before the War organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain, London 1979
‘Constructivism in Art & Design’ Crafts Council Gallery, London 1988
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