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Gerald Summers Plywood Armchair

One of a kind

Gerald Summers Plywood Armchair

"Made by Makers of Simple Furniture (1931-1940)"

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(1 available)

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Phone: 0161 850 7571
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Complimentary Next Day Shipping

For purchases made before 12pm GMT to UK addresses, next-day delivery is available.

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One of a kind

Gerald Summers Plywood Armchair

By Gerald Summers (1899 - 1967)
1934

Dimensions:
H 78 cm x W 60.5 cm x D 86.5 cm
H 30¾" x W 24" x D 34¼"

With stamped registration number 'REGD.No 791116'
Moulded from birch plywood with original white tinted finish

Gerald Summers was the most innovative British Modernist designer and in only ten years produced over a hundred furniture designs which capture the zeitgeist of the 1930's. He achieved with this Modernist masterpiece what his counterparts across Europe and Scandinavia had been striving for as it describes in the simplest terms the ideal unity of material, production, function and form. At this time adhesives did not stand the strain of everyday use and some of both Alvar Aalto and Marcel Breuer's plywood designs had to be modified with spliced pieces and bracing. This was alien to Summers' beliefs, 'In pure design we expect each part and member to pull its full weight in making the design suitable for its purpose...'. The Bent Plywood Armchair is made from a single rectangle of ply; the seven 3 mm thick sheets with four lengthwise and 2 lateral cuts were placed on top of each other, sandwiched with the adhesive used in the aviation industry and laid in the mould. After only eight hours the chair was removed and required minimal finishing.

The design is ingenious because not only are all the component parts constructed from a single piece of bent plywood giving the design its distinctive visual appeal but also because the chair was the first to be formed in a mould. Summers applied for registration of the design which was granted by the London Patent Office in early 1934.

Originally offered through Heals and Harrods and select department stores in the US including Pembertons in New York, examples of the BPAC (Bent Plywood Armchair) are now held by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany.



Award:
Winner of the Country Life/LAPADA 'Object of the Year 2012'.

This is an extremely rare example of the Bent Plywood Armchair in original unrestored state. The chair has the white tinted finish with the registration number stamped into the wood which reads 'REGD.No 791116' and the number '37' under the front apron.

Gerald Summers furniture is seldom marked with the registration and we no of no other with a stamped number; occasionally a metal plaque is affixed or it bears a metal plaque with the name of the store through whom it was purchased.

Provenance:
UK private deceased estate - purchased new by Oxford artist Juliette May Lucille Edwards (3 May 1909 to 23 February 2011)

Museums & Exhibitions:
Victoria & Albert Museum: The Bent Plywood Armchair is on permanent exhibition in the new 20th Century Furniture Galleries, opened 2012
The Wolfsonian Design Museum, Miami
MOMA Exhibition: The Magic of Plywood 2014
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

Bibliography:
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 - catalogue of the American Federation of Arts exhibition 1980's
Gerald Summers: Furniture For the Concrete Age Dunn and Mantz pub. 2012
1000 Chairs Charlotte and Peter Fiell, Cologne 2000 p.232
Design for Today 1934
100 Masterpieces Vitra Design Museum
Furnishing the small Home published London and New York 1930's by the Studio Ltd.
A History of British Design 1839-1970 Fiona McCarthy pub. 1972

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Gerald Summers Plywood Armchair

PROVENANCE: UK private deceased estate - purchased new by Oxford artist Juliette May Lucille
DATE: 1934
RESIDES IN: London, UK
MEASUREMENTS: H 78 cm x W 60.5 cm x D 86.5 cm / H 30¾" x W 24" x D 34¼"
CONDITION: With original white tinted finish
Stamped: 'REGD.No 791116'

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Arcarta is pleased to offer complimentary shipping on this item to UK addresses. International delivery is available.

This item may be returned within two days of receipt. View returns policy.

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Personal Service

Our team is always at hand to assist you.
Phone: 0161 850 7571
enquiries@arcarta.com

Complimentary Next Day Shipping

For purchases made before 12pm GMT to UK addresses, next-day delivery is available.

Returns Accepted

Having second thoughts? We accept returns on all orders.
Our Returns Policy