Erich Dieckmann: Balanced Bauhaus

Berlin-born designer Erich Dieckmann (1896-1944) is one of the most important furniture designers of the Bauhaus. Much like Marcel Breuer, Dieckmann experimented with steel tubing and its application in the design of furniture – however, he is primarily known for his pieces in wood. In 1921, he enrolled at the Bauhaus in Weimar and between 1921-1925, he served an apprenticeship there as a carpenter. Erich Dieckmann’s designs for seating pieces are strictly geometric, consisting of frames based on right angles and curves which were virtually square or circular in cross-section. Another typical feature of his work is linking armrests and chair legs in a runner construction. Dieckmann used quality hardwoods, beech, cherry, oak and ash as well as rattan and cane matting which moderated the austere geometry of the pieces. Standardization of construction was emphasized to keep the prices of these mass-produced pieces as low as possible.

Erich Dieckmann armchair

A rare Dieckmann creation c. 1930, this custom armchair was ordered by Adriaan Roland Holst from Sloterdijjkm, The Netherlands. Consisting of a painted tube steel construction, with a wicker seat and back and lacquered wood armrests. This rare armchair is currently up for auction.

Another prime armchair, c. 1931 showcasing Dieckmann’s style of linking armrests with chair legs in a runner manner. The nickel-plated tubular steel boasts a black stretched canvas fabric back and seat with stained beech wood armrests, was originally manufactured for Cebaso, Ohrdruf.

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Illum Wikkelsø: Biomorphic Beauty

Designer Illum Wikkelsø, one of the lesser known Danish designers, crafted rich, organic Scandinavian pieces in the 1950’s and 60’s. Following the path of most Danish designers at the time, Wikkelsø studied cabinetry, graduating from the Copenhagen School of Arts & Crafts. He held positions with cabinetmaker Jacob Kjaer and the firm of Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen. In 1944, Wikkelsø moved to Arhus to work as an interior designer until becoming an independent force in furniture design in 1954. After moving his studio to an idyllic two-century-old farmhouse in a small village south of Arhus in the late 1950’s, Wikkelsø designed his signature furniture pieces. Inspired by the natural forms in the Danish landscape, working with teak and rosewood, he captured delicately sculptural forms with a profound understanding of materials and superb attention to detail. Wikkelsø believed that furniture should be built to last while cradling the body and being pleasing to the eye. He went on to design furniture for some of the top Danish furniture makers, receiving several awards for his work.

Illum Wikkelsø lounge chair

This sculptural lounge chair c. 1960’s, showcases Wikkelsø’s playful details, with the chair bending slightly backwards in order to make the perfect angle to relax. The crossed legs, crafted in oak are typical of Wikkelsø’s craft and was manufactured by Mikael Laursen in Denmark.

Illum Wikkelsø Scandinavian Modern rocking chair

An amazing Scandinavian Modern rocking chair in ebonized wood. This model IW3 was designed by Illum Wikkelsø in 1958 for the maker Niels Ellersen.

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Poul Kjaerholm: Superb SteelCraft

Danish designer Poul Kjaerholm began his creative career as a cabinetmaker’s apprentice and continued his studies at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen in 1952. While studying under masters Hans Wegner and Jørn Utzon (an industrial designer and architect of the Sydney Opera House) he honed his use of industrial methods and materials and brought a fresh, graceful approach to Danish modern design. Kjaerholm embraced the use of steel, rather than wood for framing his chairs and tables, unlike most of his Danish counterparts. He chose to incorporate other natural materials in his pieces, wood, leather, cane and marble to soften the steel forms.

From the mid-1950’s he worked for Ejvind Kold Christiansen, a friend and entrepreneur who gave Kjaerholm tremendous artistic freedom to produce a sleek extensive range of furnishings. Kjaerholm married Hanne (Kjaerholm) who became a successful architect, the pair being a Danish power design couple. Kjaerholm’s designs can be found as part of the collection in the Museum of Modern Art as well as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, as well as throughout many museums in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany. Since 1982 the Republic of Fritz Hansen has been producing a wide range of his products to his exact specifications.

Poul Kjaerholm Holscher Chair

The extremely rare Holscher Chair c. 1953, named for Svend Holscher, (a blacksmith in the town of Rødby and father of friend Knud), is an example of Kjaerholm’s innovative construction techniques. The steel tube frame, manufactured by Holscher, supports the seat and back constructed of halyard wrapped by Hanne and Poul Kjaerholm. These chairs were only manufactured for the Kjaerholm family and friends.   Poul Kjaerholm PK31 Hammock Chair

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Mathieu Matégot: Perforated Perfection

Independent and self-taught Hungarian designer, Mathieu Matégot (1910-2001) spent most of his life living and working in his beloved Paris, where he settled after finishing his studies at Budapest’s School of Art and Architecture in 1937. Signing up as a volunteer for the French Army, Matégot was captured and held prisoner in Germany until his escape in 1944. It was during this time of incarceration while working in a plant manufacturing mechanical accessories he was able to learn about sheet metal techniques. He later named this technique “Rigitulle” where metal tubing, combined with perforated metal sheet takes on the characteristics of fabric. “Rigitulle” could be bent, folded, shaped to give the objects he created a sense of transparency and weightlessness.

Matégot traveled the world in search of inspiration and industrial processes, bringing the inspiration home to interpret and create his own designs. In the 1950’s he devoted most of his time to the design of furniture and interior accessories. To ensure quality in the production of his products, Matégot set up two workshops, one in Paris and a second in Casablanca, Morocco. He created handcrafted furniture and decorative accessories using a variety of materials such as metal, rattan, glass, Formica and perforated sheet metal. Two of his most well-known pieces are the three-legged “Nagasaki” chair (1954) and the “Copacabana” armchair (1955/56, shown below). At the beginning of the 1960’s Matégot abruptly changed his focus to tapestry design, which he would continue for the rest of his career.

Mathieu Matégot sconces

This trio of French wall sconces c. 1950’s, showcases Mathieu Matégot’s signature Rigitulle technique. Constructed of an enameled perforated metal shield with a brass rim and opaline glass shell, they are a combination of function and whimsy.

Mathieu Matégot Copacabana chairThe Copacabana lounge chair, c. 1955/56 consists of an organic tubular frame surrounding the round seat with a back made of perforated sheet metal. Another example of Matégot’s innovative Rigitulle technique. This chair is included in the design collection at the Museum of Deoratives Arts in Paris, at the Georges Pompidou Centre, and the National Museum of Modern Art. The chair is available as a re-issue today and still looks timeless and classic.

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Alberto Rosselli: A Visionary Design Pioneer

Italian architect, designer and teacher Alberto Rosselli was born in Palermo in 1921. He was considered the “innovator” of architecture and one of the primary architects to emphasize the concept of industrial design as it relates to the structure as a whole. After graduating in 1947 from Milan Polytechnic University, Rosselli, he became the pioneer of Industrial Design and proposed new teaching techniques about the concept and process of “decision-making” in design. He decided to create furniture pieces that were modern, functional, simple and affordable.

In 1951, Rosselli designed the first kitchen for a two-person apartment encompassing the principles of functionality and adaptability, this informed his practice of design, concepts and ideas. Rosselli was inspired by the work of Gio Ponti, who became a role model and a figure he followed and studied in his formative years. In the 1950’s Rosselli began to work with Ponti, founding Ponti Fornaroli Rosselli / Studio PFR. During this time, he was involved in the planning of the Pirelli Tower, his first architectural commission. From the 1950’s to his death in the 1976 Rosselli created designs for everyday items – furniture pieces, clocks and electrical appliances, with the concepts of functionality and modularity as his guiding principles.
Alberto Rosselli Poltrone Jumbo“Poltrone Jumbo” modular seating elements constructed of fiberglass, designed in 1968 for Italian furniture manufacturer Saporiti, available in red, black, blue and white.

Mid-Century Modern Trapezoid Desk c.1955, composed of a long teak top with floating attached drawers on an iron frame. Designed by Studio PFR.

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