A WHITE TINTED BENT PLYWOOD ARMCHAIR
A WHITE TINTED BENT PLYWOOD ARMCHAIR
A WHITE TINTED BENT PLYWOOD ARMCHAIR
A WHITE TINTED BENT PLYWOOD ARMCHAIR
A WHITE TINTED BENT PLYWOOD ARMCHAIR
A WHITE TINTED BENT PLYWOOD ARMCHAIR

GERALD SUMMERS (1899-1967)

A WHITE TINTED BENT PLYWOOD ARMCHAIR

1933 to 1940 British

Offered by Peter Petrou

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Made by Makers of Simple Furniture (1931-1940)
This is an extremely rare example of the Bent Plywood Armchair in original unrestored state. The chair has the original 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.

Gerald Summers was the most innovative Bitish 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.
Original very rare white tinted polish
Purchased new by Oxford based artist Juliette May Luculle Edwards (3 may 1909 to 23 February 2011) with whom it remained until her death in 2011
Sold by the executors of her estate.
Gerald Summers was a member of the Design and Industry Association, the DIA, which had formed out of the Arts & Crafts Movement in 1915. This splinter group felt that the Arts & Crafts anti-industrialisation stance was counter-productive to two of its core principles: simplicity and truth to materials. The DIA's founding purpose was to “improve all the things we live with and use” applying “sound design” and they believed that industrialisation was the means to achieve this. The movement so clearly enunciated the mood of the times that in 1933 the BBC broadcast eleven, thirty minute programmes by designers such as Coates and Gordon Russell which were printed weekly in the “Listener”.

These designers were part of the Modernist movement; striving to leave behind superfluity in all its forms. This design is significant because it is, quite simply, the most rational interpretation of these principals. To fulfill the brief the function must first be considered, then the material and finally the form. Summers believed and has here proven that what will follow is that "sight too will be satisfied".

Only 120 of these chairs were originally made and fewer have survived. However, an example of this Bent Plywood Armchair together with a short film of its making is to be included in the new 20th Century Furniture Galleries opening this year at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The example in the collections of MOMA New York is currently being exhibited at the museum in the 'Plywood: Material, Process, Form' exhibition.
In this rare chair Gerald Summers not only captured the zeitgeist of a specific era - 1930's Britain, but also achieved what has come to be recognized as one of the world's Modernist masterpieces.
Dimensions
Height 78.00 cm (30.71 inches)
Width 60.50 cm (23.82 inches)
Depth 86.50 cm (34.06 inches)
Stock Code
1001/2494
Medium
Birch Ply with a chalk based tinted finish
Signed/Inscribed
Stamped with registration number: 'REGD.No 791116'
Peter Petrou

Peter Petrou
c/o BADA, 20 Rutland Gate
London
SW7 1BD
England

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