Alvar and I

Musings about vintage design furniture

Posts Tagged ‘Eames

Minimal Desks circa 1950s

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The 1950s were a great period for desk design. Economic expansion and the rise of the tertiary sector perhaps explain that. There is still a lot of sobriety in the designs, as if reminiscent of the deprivations of the war. Only towards the end of the decade do we see more expansive lines.

Finn Juhl (1948)

Franco Albini, #80 desk (1949)

Jacques Adnet (1950)

Jean Prouvé – Standard desk (1950)

Charles and Ray Eames – ESU desk (1952)

Greta Magnusson Grossman (1952)

Pierre Paulin – (1953)

Hans Wegner (1954)

Jean Prouvé – Compas desk (1955)

Jules Wabbes (1955)

Franco Albini – stadera desk (1958)


Ico Parisi –  (1958)

Nana Ditzel (1960)


From our 50s couch

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Spring is coming and so are auctions in the United States:

1. Wright Modern Design, March 23rd, with a large selection of American designers. Some fine European pieces too. Since the chair is the emblem of this blog, these two Alvar Aalto Model 21 have caught our eye. Not in pristine condition, but clearly pre-war models sourced in the U.K. See also several pieces by Pierre Jeanneret from Chandigarh (Wright offered some already last year): it will be interesting to see how they fare compared to last week’s Artcurial auction.

2. For Eames lovers, Wright Eames Auction on April 8th. Given the size of Charles and Ray Eames production and the number of knock-offs, we always found it a challenge to identify good Eames vintage. A catalogue raisonné would definitely help. We can trust Richard Wright to assemble a great selection for us. Looking particularly forward to a nice vintage ESU model.

3. Treadway-Toomey Galleries Auction, March 7th,  with two fine lots of a K.E.M. Weber armchair by Lloyd Manufacturing. See our previous post on Weber.

4. Rago Arts is inviting consignements for its Modern Auction on April 25th.

5. LAMA is also inviting consignments for its Spring Auction.

Written by Alvar and I

March 1, 2010 at 2:14 am

We want more catalogues raisonnés of furniture designers

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When stumbling across an attractive vintage piece, it would be nice to dig in our library (or even better online) the ultimate reference book or a catalogue raisonné to situate it in time and in the body of work of the designer. After all our visual senses, knowledge and memory are limited… Here are below some that we found.

The Furniture of Poul Kjaerholm: Catalogue Raisonné by Michael Sheridan

Alvar Aalto: The Complete Catalog of Architecture, Design and Art by Goran Schildt

Jean Prouvé by Laurence Bergerot and Patrick Seguin (review on

Complete Kagan: Vladimir Kagan–A Lifetime of Avant-Garde Design by Vladimir Kagan himself

Graham Mancha offers a nice selection of reference books at Design for Modern Living in the UK

The begining of an online catalog raisonné of Charles and Ray Eames on Eames Office and of Jens Risom furniture on

Written by Alvar and I

February 5, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Bird watching

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Chair names come in various form: sometimes none at all, often product codes relating to form and function (Eames), the designer’s initials and/or the model number (Kjaerholm), a play on a metaphor, recalling a woman‘s first name (less frequently a gentleman’s one), or suggesting a tong-in-cheek joke, or for that matter whatever sprung to mind on that particular day. There are as many variations as the fertile imagination of designers or users of designs.

We were musing the other day over the name of pieces of furniture borrowed from the animal kingdom and nature in general. This is a particularly memorable way of baptizing a striking piece. I guess that what makes those names easy remembering is their association to the perfectness of nature and animals names we may have related since childhood, and of course the mnemonics of associating the organic shape (or use) of the furniture with the animal. Arne Jacobsen was a nature lover. Sometimes the name these pieces became known under where not the one given by their creator.

Thus to celebrate imaginative names for iconic chairs, I decided to do a bit of bird watching today. It also happens that some of my fondest designs have bird names. Everyone should be able to easily recall the name of a few below, but a couple might be more difficult. While you are it, try to get the designer as well and find the odd one out (click on any image to access the gallery and the answer).

Written by Alvar and I

January 24, 2010 at 7:43 pm