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Tuesday, September 16th, 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 designer’s 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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Monday, January 16th, 2012

2012 Design Trends: Tufted Furniture Goes Modern

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Tufted furniture is having a moment right now. While this design trend is typically a traditional design element, some mid-century modern designers embraced tufting, giving it a more streamlined and modern look (think the Eames Lounge Chair or Edward Wormley for Dunbar). Others would reduce the number of buttons; some sofas had just one button centered on each back cushion.

Much in the same way, today’s designers are taking the trend and embracing it in contemporary ways. Here’s a look at how some of our designers are playing with tufted furniture in 2012.

TrueModern has several fresh takes on tufting. The Luna Sofa has just one simple row of buttons that create a subtle tufting across the back cushions. These buttons also emphasize a horizontal line:

On all versions of TrueModern’s Dane Sofa, the back pillows just a hint at tufting. It hints at a less-rounded grid pattern and there are no upholstery buttons required.

The One-Night Stand Sleeper Sofa from Blu Dot only has four buttons but they all stand out and are a wonderful graphic touch:

Blu Dot also applied some tufting fun to an armchair. The Animal Lounge Chair has four simple dots on the seat that play off its blocky shape.

The OFFI Perch Lounge Leather Chair pays homage to Mies van de Rohe’s Barcelona chair, complete with sleek tufted leather (and a handy shelf on the bottom):

Fatboy’s Avenue First Blocks have a grid like pattern of stitching that’s a modern take on tufting.
Wondering exactly what these pieces are? They come in different shapes and colors and can be used singly as ottomans or seats, or put together into all sorts of  configurations, from a big square to the letter “f”. Here it’s kind of like a snake:

Has tufted furniture caught your eye or do you like your upholstery strictly streamlined? Please weigh in in the comments section!

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