Collection

'Carver' Style Chair

Collection: When modernism goes bad

Category: Furniture

Date: Circa 1950s

Designer: Frank Guille

Nationality of Designer: British

Manufacturer: Kandya Ltd

Manufacturers Location: London (U.K)

Material: Steel Frame, grey and white vinyl covering

Dimensions: Height 86 cm x Width 62 cm

Purchase Price: £10

Abstract:

Carver Style Chair

Provenance:

Purchased in 2001 from Help the Aged furniture warehouse in Kendal for Lawson Park by Adam Sutherland

Personal history/nominator:

Bought because it 'looked a bit different' for use at Lawson Park, unrecognised the chair spent quite a lot of time as a garden chair surviving the Lakeland weather and sinking into the mud.

Adam Sutherland

Adaptions/renovations:

None - slightly worn chic look

Why it's in the Collection:

A classic piece of post war design following the maxim of bringing good design at affordable prices to the masses. Guille's chair echoes the new 'contemporary style' that replaced the age of utility. These new designs were showcased in the 1951 Festival of Britain, where designers were given free reins to produce unconventional designs that were then re-produced to suit the mass market using efficient production methods and cheap materials and generally ushering in the age of built in obsolescence. Although a bit worn this particular chair has lasted well even the vinyl coverings and foam fills are doing ok.

Guille is interesting to the collection in that he often collaborated with other artist/designers, notably Jaqueline Groag. The tendency for male designers to make the shapes and female designers create the patterns is particular to the era with many examples of this as well as the slightly rarer collaborative design duo (John and Sylvia Reid).

About the Designer/Maker:

Frank Guille (1926- 1997) was at the forefront of the 'New Contemporary' movement which sought to move design forward in the years following the war. He is principally known as a furniture designer working for Kandya through the 1950's. Kandya, who were a leading furniture manufacturer at the time, originally commissioned Guile to redesign 'Jason' a stacking side chair. This elegant yet functional approach to design set the standard of Guille's work.

In the early 1940s, Frank Guille trained under both Robin Day and John Cole at the Beckenham School of Art. After serving with the Royal Navy, he studied Furniture Design at the Royal College of Art under Gordon Russell. From 1960 to 1992, Guille took on posts at the Royal College of Art, as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and, finally, Head of Furniture Design.

About the Manufacturer:

Kandya, manufacturer of British furniture was at the forefront employing designers such as Frank Guille and Carl Jacobs. The designs of Jacobs have become particularly iconic but Guille's kitchen furniture designs the 'Trimma' range have recently started to attract attention. In 1968, Kandya Ltd formed a jointly owned company with D. Meredew Ltd, that came to be known as Kandya Meredew Ltd. The new company specialised in furniture for hotels and oil companies. Kandya already had considerable experience in package deals in these two areas, supplying diverse ranges of furniture on site: jobs included bedroom cabinet furniture for the Teheran Hilton, and all the furnishings for the Esso bachelor houses at Marsa Brega in Libya.