May 31, 2011

Vintage Papa Bear chair Brochure

We are doing a little spring cleaning here at Classic Design, and the file room has not escaped our scrutiny and inspection! While going through some old client files, we found a vintage Papa Bear chair brochure. These old brochures are so charming, we wanted to share:

Feel free to click on the image to see it larger. I'm hoping to find more original artwork of these mid-century masterpieces!

May 18, 2011

Barcelona Chair restoration

We recently finished two of these beautiful Barcelona chairs for a client. The Barcelona chair was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929, exclusively for Germany's entry into the International Exposition of that year. The chair's design was inspired by the folding chairs of ancient times. The frame was initially designed to be bolted together, but was redesigned in 1950 using stainless steel, which allowed the frame to be formed by a seamless piece of metal, which gave it a smoother appearance.

The piece was originally designed using ivory-colored pigskin, which was later replaced by leather. Since 1953, the chair has been manufactured by Knoll, and is almost completely handmade. As with all our classic modern restorations, our work is done in the same manner the originals were made, carrying on the tradition that van der Rohe started all those years ago.

These two chairs were recovered in Garrett Leather in Sierra/Desert - a beautiful choice!

May 16, 2011

Beautiful Mid-Century Danish Chairs - restored, reupholstered, renewed.

We just finished the restoration of 12 gorgeous mid-century Danish chairs for a client. The chairs needed to be reupholstered and the wood was in desperate need of refreshing. Here are some 'after' photos of a few of the pieces, they are complete works of art.

There were 4 of the dining room chairs and 4 dining room armchairs, all reupholstered in white leather. They were originally designed by Willy Beck, in collaboration with Aksel Bender Madsen and Ejner Larsen.

Shown below is the Finn Juhl Easy Chair #45 designed in 1945 and manufactured by Niels Vodder. The arms of this chair have been called the most beautiful in the world. They are sharp edged, like a paper knife, and have a stunning three-dimensional curve. The Easy Chair #45 demonstrates a major change in Juhl's concept of design. His early work had heavy form; after this design the bodies of his chairs float free from the frame - this became a distinguishing feature of his work. We reupholstered this piece in Kravet Hallingdal 110. Note the leather detail where the wood meets the upholstery on the top of the arm and base of the seat. 

The Jacob Kjaer armchair with adjustable back, and footstool is made in mahogany and upholstered in black leather. It was originally designed in 1954, and has amazing lines.

Seeing these beautiful pieces in our workshop and having the opportunity to bring them back to life is so rewarding. Even if we can't go home and relax with the evening paper in one of these, we are content in the knowledge that our client can enjoy them again for years to come.

May 11, 2011

Before & After: Papa Bear Chair

Hans Wegner was a Danish furniture designer who was known for his popular mid-century Danish designs. Best known for his chairs, he designed the Papa Bear chair in 1951. Born to a cobbler in 1914, he worked as a child apprentice to Master cabinetmaker H.F. Stahlberg where he discovered he enjoyed working with wood, and had an affinity towards fabric. After completing his apprenticeship, he joined the military and later went to the Danish School of Arts & Crafts and the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen.

The Papa Bear Chair, sometimes referred to as the Teddy Bear Chair, received its name after a critic referred to its armrests as 'great bear paws embracing you from behind'. This became one of Wegner's most popular design in later years.

We were brought the above piece, which was in desperate need of some TLC. The upholstery was stained and ripped and the wood had long lost its' sheen and smooth touch. It's always a joy to work on these pieces, and watch them come alive again before our eyes.

We love getting into the piece; peeling away the layers tells a story itself.

Of course, the restored chair is always worth the wait - it's as beautiful as it was when originally produced.

Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair - reupholstered in Kvadrat Hallingdal #103. More of our restoration projects can be found on our website under restoration/repair.
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