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Monday, September 15th, 2014

(Re)Introducing the Spanner Lounge Chair With Arms

Becky

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We are so pleased to announce that we are carrying The Spanner Lounge Chair with Arms at Design Public. Originally created in 1950 by Russell Spanner (1916-1974), the award-winning chair has been out of production for more than 50 years. Gus*Design Group worked in collaboration with the Spanner family to revive this iconic chair, meticulously matching the materials, construction and details to the original chair.

The frame is constructed of  solid birch and curved birch plywood and the seat is 100% cotton woven strapping. During the design collaboration with the Spanner family, Gus*Design Group worked hard to match the finishes (both light and dark birch) and strapping colors (choice of green, red or black strapping):

Vintage Ad for Russell Spanner's Furniture

Today we’re talking with Joran Van Lange, the designer at Gus* Design Group who acted as design and production lead for the Spanner Lounge Chair reissue, to learn more about this exciting re-release.

How did you discover the work of Russell Spanner?
I first saw his work in a design lecture while I was in school.  His original designs show up occasionally here in Toronto at vintage and mid-century antique shops, so before we even knew Russell’s background story, we were familiar with the Russell Spanner “look”, which is very recognizable.

What drew you to the Spanner Chair in particular?
There’s something really positive and energetic about the lines and angles of the chair.  It’s bold without being too serious.

Which leads me to, what about its mid-century design still works so well today?

The design is relevant today for the same reasons it was relevant in the 1950s. At that time, North American cities were seeing an explosion of compact, post-war homes, which needed furniture that was smaller scale.  The movement toward condo and small space living in the last decade has meant that consumers are again looking for smaller, lighter furniture pieces.

Aesthetically, the chair embodies the mid-century tradition of leaving components and hardware in plain view.  Nothing is hidden by panels or upholstery.  There’s a transparency in that which people appreciate.

What is the history of the chair?

The Lounge Chair was designed by Russell while he was working as foreman at his family’s woodworking factory.  It’s believed that he used some of the jigs and parts of other industrial products to form the basic components for the Lounge Chair.  As an example, the frame for the seat shares the same proportions and joinery as the industrial battery boxes which the factory produced at the time.

Where are the reproductions produced?

We felt that because this chair was originally designed and produced in Toronto, it was important to carry on that legacy and produce the re-issue here as well.

Did you learn anything new about design and production from the process of putting the Spanner Chair back into production?


We realized once we began to dissect the original chair that there are some very sophisticated joinery details going on.  Everything must be manufactured perfectly in order for the design to work.

It works beautifully.

Purchase a Spanner Lounge Chair with Arms at Design Public

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Friday, August 15th, 2014

Last Chance To Save 20% Off Gus*Modern Upholstered Pieces

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Just a reminder that our sale on Gus*Modern upholstered pieces is ending soon. So take the weekend to think it over and get your orders in by Sunday (August 17, 2014) at midnight EST. If you haven’t had a chance to glance over the options, here’s a peek at a few of the highlights.

Gus*Modern has great sofa selections, whether you’re looking for a loveseat, full-sized or a sectional. The Jane Loft Bi-Sectional Sofa is very versatile. Its metal base lends it well to a loft, while its tufting lets it fit right in with a more traditional family room.

Speaking of versatile, one of my favorite pieces is an upholstered ottoman. The Gus*Modern Henry Ottoman can serve as coffee table, a footrest and extra seating in a pinch. It also looks great at the end of a bed or in an entryway.

Gus*Modern GT Rocker is a new classic. WIth its simple modern silhouette, it references mid-century style with a contemporary twist. The hard steel base contrasts with the contoured soft upholstered seat and back. It’s a great accent piece for a living room, home office, family room or bedroom.

Gus Modern Carmichael Bed

The Gus Modern Carmichael Bed is clean-lined yet soft. Its wingback headboard nods to traditional style in a contemporary way. It also includes a support system that eliminates the need for a box spring, and its upholstered side rails eliminate the need for a bedskirt.

This is just a tiny sample of all the great modern pieces you can save on through Sunday. So go take a last look and make your decision while you can still save 20%!

View all Gus*Modern

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Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Danish Design Store Is Having a Sale

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Pssst… our sister store, Danish Design Store, is having a sale:

If you’ve been eyeing a modern icon like Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair (they come in all sorts of fun colors in addition to various woods and finishes),

a PH Snowball Pendant by Louis Poulsen,

or perhaps a Finn Juhl Nyhavn Table with Tray Unit

… now is the time. The store has an amazing selection of Danish classics and new designs, so be sure to stop by. On top of the 15% off, there is also free shipping.*

The sale is only running from March 6 to March 18th 2014. Shopping pieces that grace so many of the world’s museum’s permanent collections is a big decision. Buying one is a decision you will never regret. Here’s what you do —  go browse, go to bed, sleep on it and dream about it in your home and imagine yourself using it. Then do the math — think about how much you’ll save and figure out if brown-bagging it for a month will make it affordable for you. When you wake up, your decision will be made.

By the way, Danish Design Store is curated in such a way that if  the piece you have your eye on isn’t already a sought-after icon, you can bet someday it will be, like the Panton Bachelor Chair, which looks like someone dreamed it up while playing with a paper clip and staring at a classic white window shade.

Shop the sale

*The sale excludes the following brands: PP Mobler, One Collection, Hay, Innovation, Menu, Glerups & Stelton

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Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Back-to-School: Finding the Right Desk

Becky

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Now that the school year is getting into full swing, it’s time to make sure your workspace suits you. In fact, even if you aren’t in school, check out your workspace and make sure it’s inspiring you to do your best and enjoy it as much as possible. We’ll start with some smashing contemporary desks. Here are six favorites – see if you (or your little homework-doer) are cut out for any of them. Enjoy!

Blue Dot Desk 51. You’re a minimalist, and you like fast cars, or at least, Matchbox cars. All you need is your laptop and everything else is in the cloud or in your head. This desk is powdercoated and glossy, sleek and clever. There’s also an extending keyboard tray/shelf that glides on metal/ball bearing side runners; you can’t even tell it’s there.

The OFFI Half Pipe Desk. You love to board, whether on pavement or snow, but you also like to put your feet up. You like to fidget and love having a few items close at hand. You’d rather make a diorama than write a report, you collect matchboxes (not matchbooks) and you love to curl up in a cozy nook. This desk has some cool curves, niches for stowing things and a footrest.

Stoller Works Yellow Frame Standing Desk. You are so tired of sitting at school all day that you need to stand. You dream of a career where you’re at a drafting table, designing a zero-energy skyscraper, a bridge, a new public park or a motorcycle like the one in Tron. While you embrace technology, you also have an appreciation for handmade things, and enjoyed using the jigsaw in shop class. This desk has a beautiful trestle sculpture and will keep you from succombing to a sedentary lifestyle.

The MASH Studios LAX Wall-Mounted Desk. You hate wasted space, probably because your room is tiny. You like hiding things between your mattress and your box spring, and have a particular affection for stash boxes that look like books. You love the concept of floating and you played with building blocks a lot as a kid. This desk mounts to the wall, saves floor space and combines walnut wood with powdercoated aluminum.

The Brave Space Design Delta Desk (shown: Maple). You’ve always been fascinated by airplanes, and you’re quite good at fashioning your own from paper and drilling your friends in the head with them. You’re a piler, not a filer and you prefer a good old fashioned corkboard to one on Pinterest. This desk has a very cool silhouette, and its sculptural wings serve as shelves.

The Blu Dot Modulicious Power Deskette. Legos were always your toy of choice. You tend to make a mess but like to be able to hide it with one sweep of your arm. You think Mike Brady was a dang good architect and wish you could have seen more of his work, and you think your Mom’s vintage Fisher Price A-Frame House was way under-rated. This desk has mid-century modern flair, yet it’s fresh, and you can totally customize it with fun colors on the drawers.

Browse all desks

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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Five Must-Have Dining Chairs

Becky

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I’m a chair nut. When I moved, my moving men kept putting every single side chair I owned into my dining room, their permanent locations, T.B.D. By the time the dining room table arrived, there wasn’t any room to put it in the sea of chairs. Remarkably, they all found a spot, as I love an occasional chair here or there and don’t really tend toward matchy-matchy sets.

Anyway, from one chair nut to others or potential others, here are chairs to be on the lookout for at yard sales and chairs to invest in for your permanent (museum-ish yet functional) collection. I’m going to stick to five dining chairs as otherwise we’d be here all day and I have other stuff to do, but it’s a solid start.

1. Anything by Thonet, particularly with bent wood. These date back to the mid-century. Of the 19th century, that is, somewhere ’round ever-stylin’ Vienna. They still look fly today. Love. Scour second-hand websites and yard sales. A Thonet is a great score.

2. The Emeco Navy Chair (1006 Chair). These chairs were built to stand up to violent seas and dudes in the Navy. We’re talking torpedo blasts on the side of a destroyer. Not only are these suckers strong, they have classic mid-century industrial style that will never fade.

3. The Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair (1949). This versatile chair adds warmth and style to many different kinds of dining rooms. Though first impulse is to go all Danish modern around it, it works very well in more traditional spaces, spaces with Asian style, eclectic rooms as well as very minimalist rooms.

4. Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair (1955). Re-released, this classic is often imitated by chain stores and catalogs – don’t fall for the imitations; having a licensed chair is worth the investment. This versatile and curvy little number looks great for formal dining, casual eat-in kitchen dining and at a desk or dressing table.

5. The Kartell Masters Chair (2010-ish?). Philippe Starck mashed up the silhouettes of three chairs here – Jacobsen’s Series 7, and two others we didn’t have room to include – Eero Saarinen’s Tulip armchair, and the Eames’ Eiffel Chair to get this meaningful back.

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