Designers In The Spotlight
We've provided a short introduction to some of our favourite designers and the signature pieces we covet, some of which are available as reproductions from Metro Furniture.
back to topAlvar Aalto (1898 – 1976)
For the record: Architect and designer often referred to as the father of modernism Aalto believed that We should work for simple, good, undecorated things… but things which are in harmony with the human being and organically suited to the little man in the street. Quite!
If we could own one signature piece: Paimio Chair, a cantilevered birchwood chair, originally designed for the Paimio Sanitorium's tuberculosis patients, to allow long periods of sitting and easy breathing.
back to topLudwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 – 1969)
For the record: Regarded, alongside Le Corbusier, as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture and known for his use of the aphorisms "less is more" and "God is in the details". And boy, do we love his details.
If we could own one signature piece: Barcelona Chair, a mix of traditional luxurious leather surfaces and modern, delicate chrome structural frame.
back to topLe Corbusier (1887 – 1965)
For the record: Regarded, alongside Mies van der Rohe, as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture , Le Corbusier was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. We admire this ideal almost as much as we lust after his designs.
If we could own one signature piece: Chaise Longue LC4, Le Corbusier's famous "resting machine", no mechanism is required to adjust its resting position which is kept in place by gravity alone.
back to topHans Wegner (1914 – 2007)
For the record: After working for Arne Jacobsen, Wegner established himself independently, and is best known for his many modernist chairs, about which he said "the chair does not exist. The good chair is a task one is never completely done with." Au contraire – Wegner did create the perfect chair.
If we could own one signature piece: The Chair, described as "the world's most beautiful chair" by Interiors magazine, the Chair rose to fame in the televised Nixon/Kennedy presidential debates in 1960
back to topHarry Bertoia (1915 – 1978)
For the record: Informally credited with creating the metal spine and leg structure of the Eames plywood dining and lounge chairs, later designed the Bertoia collection for Knoll. He designed and made the Eames' wedding rings too… aaaah.
If we could own one signature piece: Diamond chair a fluid, sculptural form of lattice-work steel. The chairs, in Bertoia's own words "are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."
back to topEileen Gray (1878 – 1976)
For the record: One of very few females working independently in the early to mid 20th century. Gray's E1027, the house she designed and furnished for herself in 1924, has been declared a French National Cultural Monument. And we've joined the campaign to restore it to its original glory.
If we could own one signature piece: Bibendum Chair, originally covered in plain leather so it would not detract from artworks in the apartment for which it was designed, this chair has since become one of the c20th's most recognisable furniture designs.
back to topMarcel Breuer (1902 – 1981)
For the record: Breuer's experiments in bending steel were hailed as a breakthrough in furniture design. Unlike predecessors, he used non-reinforced steel tubing, which supported his ideal of "sitting on columns of air". But columns of air wouldn't look as good as this.
If we could own one signature piece: Wassily Chair, a tubular steel club chair named for the artist Wassily Kandinsky when they were both in residence at the Bauhaus.
back to topArne Jacobsen (1902 – 1971)
For the record: A perfectionist exponent of Danish Modern style. The Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, completed in 1960, showcases both his architectural and furniture designs including modern furniture icons, "The Egg" and "The Swan" chairs. And we're grateful every time we stay in a boutique hotel.
If we could own one signature piece: the 7 Chair, said to have sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and perhaps most notorious as the prop in "that" image of Christine Keeler.
back to topCharles Eames (1907 – 1978) & Ray Eames (1912 – 1988)
For the record: Architects and furniture designers who pioneered the use of new materials and technologies including moulded plywood, fibreglass, plastic resin and wire mesh. As if any introduction were needed.
If we could own one signature piece: Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, ok that's two pieces but they are as inextricably linked and Charles and Ray themselves. Charles' vision was for a chair with "the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt" while Ray commented that the chair looked "comfortable and un-designy".
back to topGeorge Nelson (1904 – 1986)
For the record: In his book "Tomorrow's House" Nelson introduced the design solutions to modern living for which he would become famous, including the concept of the "family room" and the "storage wall". The saviour of modern families with minimalist leanings.
If we could own one signature piece: Sling Sofa, despite being a thing of beauty, this piece was originally designed to be as useful and comfortable as possible and with easy mass production in mind.
back to topVerner Panton (1926 – 1998)
For the record: Introducing the sixties Pop aesthetic to furniture and interiors, Panton's designs could not have differed more from the soft forms and natural materials which defined his Danish Modernist peers. Even his transport was the epitome of sixties cool: a VW Camper Van.
If we could own one signature piece: Panton Chair, a technical first, this cantilevered chair was innovatively made from a single piece of plastic. It is sleek, sensuous and timelessly desirable.
back to topEero Saarinen (1910 – 1961)
For the record: Architect and product designer who collaborated with Charles and Ray Eames to win the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition in 1940. A long association with Knoll resulted in the now iconic Womb chair and ottoman. Did every Eames collaborator produce an icon?
If we could own one signature piece: Tulip Chair, considered a classic of industrial design and, at the time of design, considered "space age" in its concept and use of innovative materials. Beam me up.
back to topIsamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988)
For the record: A prominent artist and landscape architect, known for his biomorphic furniture and Akari lamps. Noguchi was famed for his sensitive use of materials including the mulberry paper and bamboo of his sculptural lamps. Habitat and IKEA have been paying homage ever since.
If we could own one signature piece: Coffee Table, two smoothly shaped, interlocking wooden pieces form a tripod which supports the glass top which in turn conceals nothing of the beauty of the base.
back to topPierre Pailin (1927 – 2009)
For the record: French Designer and architect with immense sense of complexity in his work. For 60 years Paulin had a major impact on peoples every day lives through his pieces of designer furniture and stylish chairs to the Denon wing of the Louvre.
If we could own a signature piece: The orange slice chair with its simple curves which almost change shape when looked at from different angles.
back to topPoul Kjaerholm (1929-1980)
For the record: Like many of his contemporaries Kjaerholm was both an architect and designer and developed an artistic ideology very early on of placing furniture into an architectual space. Poul Kjaerholm's designer furniture has once again become highly sought after in recent years as the revival in mid 20th Century Scandinavian design continues.
If we could own a signature piece: The PK22 chair with its ultra minimalist appearance clean crisp lines and soft Italian leather on a frame work of industrial steel. The chair sits low to the ground and is a perfect compannion for the Eames surfboard coffee table
back to topPoul M Volther (1923-2001)
For the record: Poul M Volther was an architect and furniture designer porbably most famous for his 1964 Corona chair. Volther was also a trained cabinet maker and he brought a level of quality craftsmanship learnt during the early years as a cabinet maker to all of his designs.
If we could own a signature piece: The Corona Chair originally designed with a wooden frame a material Poul Volther felt more at home with. Subsequent versions of the designer chair were constructed with a steel frame which was far stronger and more striking in appearance.
back to topWiebe Teertstra (1956)
For the record: The 1956 Netherlands born designer Wiebe Teerstra already designed clocks and living accessories for many years. Now exclusively working for the dutch design house Leff Amsterdam however, he went a step forwards and invented and developed unique clocks from a drawing board.The premise thereby is to explain a new standard by creating timeless artworks.
If we could own one signature piece: The one55 wall clock, large, bold, & contemporary this statement clock with its signature orange dot in the centre of the arms is a modern take on a traditional desing.
back to topJolanda Van Goor
For the record: Jolanda van Goor is a young product designer from the Netherlands. She studied at the Amsterdam School of the Arts (Academy of Fine Art in Education) and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (Architectural Design). After graduating in 2010, she founded Studio Jolanda van Goor. Jolanda makes functional products but prefers to work with natural and recycled materials. Her work is pure, simple, and fresh. Currently working in collaberation with the dutch design house leitmotiv, she produced a selction of classic moden side tables called the open minded range.
If we could own one signature piece: The large open minded side table in grey, perfect for a contemporary bedroom or as a side table
back to topErwin Teremaat (1986)
For the record: Erwin Teremaat recently graduated in Design & Engineering at the Windesheim University, Zwolle.From then he started working for the dutch design company Leff Amsterdam. His passion is to create modern interesting pieces of design which are also accessible.
If we could own one signature piece: "Brick Clock", unusual and striking the rejuvinated vintage desk or wall mounted clock is a statement piece for any room.