Friday, October 17, 2014

Mid Century Modern

Did a long walk to North Melbourne Station then a trip into the city to see the Mid Century Modern Australian Furniture Design.
I arrived at the Gallery just in time to join a tour of this exhibition that closes this weekend.
The exhibition followed the development of Australian designers in the post war period utilizing available materials like Parachute harness belting and ply from Aeroplanes .

Fred Ward designed the DC1 chair for the company that was to become FLER, Fred Lowen & Ernest Rodeck had their own workshop. Fler received an order of 500 chairs form Myer for £2/10,  a boon for the developing company.
Born in Germany in 1919 Fred escaped to Belgium in 1938 after Crystal Night. He entered England in 1940 via the Dunkirk evacuation and was interned and transported in 'true convict style' on the Dunera to Australia where he was interned in Hay and Tatura.
The FLER chair we all know
In 1942 Fred was reclassified as a 'friendly' enemy alien and was released for work as a fitter and turner. By 1945 he had started a small business as a wood turner selling salad bowls, platters and other items to gift shops along with Ernest who he met in the Camp.  see Ernest on the Zone
 Also Chairs
and also lowen 
(spent ages reading all this stuff as I checked some facts!)
The other Designer was Clement Meadmore whose stuff looks wonderful but he wants to be remembered for his sculpture not his furniture.
His sculpture
His chairs
The greatest designer in Melbourne was Grant Featherston (and later with his wife Mary)  (1922-1995) was born in Geelong being self-taught, he designed lighting and glass panels before serving in the army from 1940-1944. Returning to Melbourne he produced the first of his famous plywood shell Contour chairs in 1951.  Featherston Contract Interiors furniture showroom opened in 1956, and in 1957 he became a consultant to Aristoc Industries for 13 years. 
replicas now sell for over $1000
The moulded chair
Major projects included the furnishing of the National Gallery of Victoria, the Children's Museum of Victoria and Research into Play/Learning Environments for children.
His relaxation Range made of webbing was comfortable cheap and popular Maybe not se cheap as it cost £5 when the basic weekly wage was  £9.
 His other chairs were the precurser of Ikea Flat Packs being sold for assembly with an Ad of a women in an apron armed with hammer to show how easy it is. 
I have heard that many men are chagrined to find the help centre for Ikea assembly is a woman!
A cabinet with Ramekins by Martin Boyd like we had
It as a very nostalgic tour realising Maddy and Dad were very up on the trends with lost of Home Beautiful being the magazine for the modern home owner.!

1967 ‘EXPO’ ‘Talking Chair’ Commissioned by Robin Boyd for the Australian Pavilion, Expo ’67, Montreal, Canada. Manufacturer: Danish de Luxe & Aristoc Industries, Melbourne
This was the hit of the exhibition with a recording triggered as you sat, of Australian stars (Googoe Withers being one ) talking about the country and its fauna of Australia.  The queue was so long they cut the audio short to speed people on!

The Delma Chair was a surprise. I am sure every Australian has sat in one!
And the final surprise The patent for the Stackable Plastic chair . Production moved to the US but was from Featherston stable.

Other treats on show!
The glass top desk Identical from both sides, actually pivots

Some of the younger audience had Chenille explained

No comments: