The Bent Plywood Armchair, introduced in 1934, is crafted from a single piece of molded plywood. Streamlined, curvy and comfortable, it is iconic both for its beauty and innovation in construction techniques. Previously bentwood pieces were heated with steam, but this chair was made by gluing thin plywood veneers together then molding the single sheet to create the chair’s organic curves. After only eight hours the chair was removed and required minimal finishing.
Originally made by Makers of Simple Furniture in London, production ended and the factory closed when the British government restricted wartime importation and use of plywood. The classic Modernist chair is now produced by Italian manufacturer Alivar.
English designer Gerald Summers (1899-1967), was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He studied furniture design at Eltham College in London and completed an apprenticeship at the Ruston Engineering Firm. His first furniture design was a dining table as a wedding gift for Marjorie Butcher, who worked alongside him in Makers of Simple Furniture, where they aimed to push the boundaries in contemporary style. Summers applied for registration of the design which was granted by the London Patent Office in early 1934.
Bent Plywood Chair | c.1929
Original: Makers of Simple Furniture | UK
Current: Alivar | Italy
Dimensions: 23.5″W x 36″D x 29″H
Material: Bent Plywood