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Chair - Short Chair
  • Short Chair
    Breuer, Marcel Lajos, born 1902 - died 1981
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Short Chair

  • Object:

    Chair

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed)
    London (made)

  • Date:

    1936 (designed)
    1936 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Breuer, Marcel Lajos, born 1902 - died 1981 (designer)
    Isokon Furniture Company (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Laminated birch frame, with zebrano veneer, and moulded plywood seat and back.

    The seat is 5 ply, cross-grained. The veneers are between 1.5 and 2 mm thick.

    The frame is 10 ply, laminated. The veneers are between 1.5 and 2 mm thick.

    There are two vertical struts that support the arms, and one horizontal strut that braces the legs. These are both 7 ply, cross-grained, the veneers between 1.5 and 2 mm thick.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr and Mrs Dennis Young

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.80-1975

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This design was Marcel Breuer's first for the progressive furniture company of Isokon. (Jack and Molly Pritchard had established Isokon in Britain in 1931.) The design was a direct translation into plywood of Breuer's steel and aluminium chairs of 1932-1933. It shows the influence of the plywood furniture of Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), the Finnish architect and designer. Aalto's furniture had a soft, organic aesthetic that was more favourably received in Britain than the tubular steel designs from Germany and France. Breuer's chair came in a 'Short' and 'Long' version. Originally it would have been used with a cushion. Only a few were made, because the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 put an end to Isokon's manufacturing.

Place of Origin

London (designed)
London (made)

Date

1936 (designed)
1936 (made)

Artist/maker

Breuer, Marcel Lajos, born 1902 - died 1981 (designer)
Isokon Furniture Company (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Laminated birch frame, with zebrano veneer, and moulded plywood seat and back.

The seat is 5 ply, cross-grained. The veneers are between 1.5 and 2 mm thick.

The frame is 10 ply, laminated. The veneers are between 1.5 and 2 mm thick.

There are two vertical struts that support the arms, and one horizontal strut that braces the legs. These are both 7 ply, cross-grained, the veneers between 1.5 and 2 mm thick.

Dimensions

Height: 79 cm, Depth: 62.5 cm, Width: 99.5 cm, Width: 82 cm This is the depth of the feet only - those parts of the chair that are in contact with the floor. Width of bottom of frame (not including overhang of seat)

Descriptive line

Short Chair, designed by Marcel Breuer, manufactured by the Isokon Furniture Company, moulded birch plywood and laminated birch faced with zebrano veneer, London, designed and made 1936

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wilk, Christopher, ed. . Western Furniture 1350 to the Present Day. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 230p., ill. ISBN 085667463X.
Wilk, Christopher. Plywood: A Material Story. London: Thames & Hudson / V&A, 2017

Labels and date

Text from Plywood: Material of the Modern World (15 July-12 November 2017)

SHORT CHAIR
1936

This chair’s thin and light seat was
moulded as a single piece of plywood.
The strength of the material gives the
impression of a seat floating on air,
suspended in its frame. Plywood seats
for Breuer’s Short Chairs were moulded
in batches by the Estonian company
Luterma. They were shipped to Britain
and then attached to locally-made
laminated wood frames.

Designed by Marcel Breuer (1902–81)
Manufactured by the Isokon Furniture Company
London, Britain
Moulded 5-ply birch plywood seat/back; 10-ply
laminated birch frame, with 7-ply birch plywood struts,
faced with zebrano veneer

Given by Mr and Mrs Dennis Young
V&A: CIRC.80-1975 [2017]

Production Note

Reason For Production: Retail

Materials

Birch plywood; Zebrano

Techniques

Moulding; Veneering; Laminating

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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