Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Not All Leather Is Created The Same

When it comes to furnishing your home with leather furniture, many unfamiliar words and terms are thrown around.  Simply put, its obvious that not all leather is created the same, particularly when it comes to overall quality and durability, so it is critical to know what to look for and what to avoid.  To help with this process, here is a quick guide about what makes our Grade A Italian leathers among the finest you will find:

Top Grain Leather:  This particular grain of leather that we use is best suited for furniture upholstery due to its pliability and unmatched strength and durability.  These characteristics are achieved by removing the ‘split’ layer of the leather during the tanning process.  The result is a luxurious texture of leather that is also stain resistant.

Pure Aniline-Dyed:  Our premium leathers are all 100% aniline dyed which means the color you see is achieved by soaking the leather in a large drum of non-toxic dye to penetrate the leather’s grain all the way through and still visually maintain the integrity of the leather’s natural surface.  Between our premium leather and standard leather options, the premium leather is the softer.

Semi-Aniline-Dyed:  With the same durability as our premium leathers, our standard leathers are semi-aniline dyed.  This is the same process as mentioned above, though a small amount of pigment has been added to achieve the desired color and imperfections are corrected on the leather where necessary.

A few terms to be wary of when doing your research:

Bonded Leather:  We only use genuine leather and will never use bonded.  Bonded leather is the leftover leather that is ground together with glue and recycled, resulting in a poor quality that will decompose quickly.

Split Hide—We only use top grain leather, unlike other furniture manufacturers who use the bottom part of the leather called the ‘split hide.’  This is rougher, stiffer and prone to cracking, and moreover this leather cannot guarantee any level of durability that comes even close to our leather.

You can come see, smell, feel and sit in our wide variety of leathers showroom locations.  If you are not able to visit we can always mail you any swatches of our leathers by filling out our Material Sample Request Form.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mies van der Rohe's Regal Barcelona Chair

When furnishing your home in a style fit for a king and queen, the obvious choice is seating that was initially created for a king and queen.  Namely, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Seating.    Specifically designed as seating for the royal family at the 1929 International Exposition, Mies van der Rohe drew inspiration for his iconic Barcelona Chair from the regal folding chairs of the Pharaohs.

Our Barcelona Chair Reproduction closely matches the dimensions of the original, though we have made a few adjustments for ultimate comfort.  With a premium foam cushion meant to last 35 years, a premium stainless steel frame and 17 color options of our top-grain Italian leathers,  our version has all the elements to make any home feel like your domestic palace.

Come check it out at any of our showroom locations nationwide, and see what has made this chair fit for royalty throughout the ages!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finn Juhl's Floating Baker Sofa

When thinking of the main designers who brought Danish Modern to the United States, Finn Juhl will always remain at the top of the list.  The Danish architect’s furniture designs are easily distinguished from those of his contemporaries' by the floating back and seat combined with his personal wooden modernist style and organic curves.

A prime example of Juhl’s work is his Baker Sofa he created in 1951 while working for the Baker Furniture Company.  The back of the sofa is suspended above the seat giving off the illusion it is hovering over it and also creates a visual lightness for a sofa of its size.

Our reproduction of the Baker Sofa honors the same dimensions of Juhl's original design.  With 4 wood color choices for the base and 19 color options our of exclusive boucle fabric colors for the two-toned sofa, this sofa can be personalized to fit any living room setting.  With a traditional hardwood internal frame and our high resilient multi-density foam, our Baker Sofa Reproduction is guaranteed to serve you with style and comfort for many years.

Come visit any of our showroom locations near you and feel firsthand how our furniture is different from all the rest!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter With A Womb Chair

When they weather outside if frightful, watching it from the warmth of my living room at the end of the day is my idea of simply delightful.  It is as if Eero Saarinen had this exact notion in mind when designing his iconic Womb Chair in 1948.   Whether you prefer to kick up your feet or curl up in a ball while watching the winter outside, this Finnish architect’s Womb Chair has the organic curves and shape to maximize your comfiest position.

Our reproduction of Saarinen's Womb Chair is upholstered in our exclusive modern boucle fabric in a wide variety of color options.  Crafted with a molded fiber-reinforced polymer interal shell and stainless steel legs, our materials all ensure an added level of durability that was not yet available in the 1940s.

Come check it out and have a seat in our Womb Chair Reproduction in one of our Modern Classics Showrooms near you!

Modern Classics

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Swan Chair Effect

Arne Jacobsen had originally developed his Swan Chair in 1958 for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen.  In the years since, the Swan Chair has become an optimal ‘occasional chair’ since it fits perfectly in any setting.  It takes up relatively little space and has a shape and presence that adds a perfect modern accent and pop of color.

Our Swan Chair Reproduction uses the same dimensions Arne Jacobsen originally designed for this chair, though we have added a little extra of our foam padding for extra comfort.  We use a polished stainless steel for the swivel base that is more durable than the signature model’s mild steel and chrome plated base that tends to chip.

Come check it out and have a seat at either our Chicago or Bellingham Showroom!

Painting: "Learning to Bloom" by Sharon Kingston
Modern Classics

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bertoia's Iconic Steel Latticework Style

“Bertoia’s paintings were better than his sculptures.  And his sculptures were better than his furniture.  And his furniture was absolutely brilliant.”  -- Brian Lutz

Florence Knoll must have held the same opinion for Bertoia’s artistic vision when she gave him complete freedom to let his creativity lead him to wherever it may, so long as he let her know when he had arrived at something interesting.  This was how Bertoia came up with his signature steel latticework method that makes any of his furniture instantly recognizable.

One of our newest additions to the Chicago showroom is our Bertoia Barstool Reproduction.  The wire steel latticework frame with triple-strike chrome plating ensures durability for the many years you will have this stylish chair.  With 17 leather color options for the seat cushion, you can customize this classic barstool for any setting. 

Come check our Bertoia Barstool Reproduction at either our Chicago or Bellingham Showrooms!

Painting: "The Future Enters Us" by Sharon Kingston

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arne Jacobsen's Wickedly Modern Egg Chair

Created in 1958 for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair fits the form and function ideal of his predecessors along with his innovative design that creates an option for privacy. Its commanding presence and ability to hide away with a slight swivel on the rotating base has made this a popular chair among many filmmakers’ villains since the 1960s.

Although I rarely do much evil-plotting anymore, I do enjoy the comfort of our Egg Chair Reproduction as it contours to the natural curves of the body, just as Arne Jacobsen originally designed it to do.  Available in a 19 colors of our exclusive boucle textured fabrics and a cushion that we've added a little extra foam, this chair is enough to turn any villain into a good-natured hero.

Come have a seat and a swivel in our Egg Chair Reproduction in either our Bellingham or Chicago showrooms!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

LC4 Chaise Lounge: Something for Everyone

“I imagined an ordinary, tired soldier who stretches out on his back, places his feet against a tree and his backpack beneath his head.”

According to Charlotte Perriand, these words sum up the inspiration for the iconic LC4 Chaise Lounge created in collaboration between she and Le Corbusier in 1928. 

With the infinite positions this piece can adjust to be, soldiers and anyone else can find their preferred point of comfort.  From sitting upright to fully reclining, the curves of this chaise lounge contour to the natural curves of the body making it adaptable for any body type.

Our LC4 Chaise Lounge Reproduction honors the dimensions of the original design, from our stainless steel frame to each carefully constructed contour.  With a wide variety of our Italian leather colors and pony hide options to choose from, there is a way for everyone to make this unique piece truly your own.

Come check it out and see for yourself at our Chicago or Bellingham showroom!

Painting: "The Intimacy of the Natural World" by Sharon Kingston

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

PK20 Lounger: A Comfortable Mistake

Originally intending to utilize spare leather strips from other furniture, Poul Kjaerholm began designing what is now his famous PK20 Lounger.  His idea did not go as he planned since using the spare leather meant inconsistent sizes and shapes.  Instead, he decided to use fine leather strips of matching proportions and a steel spring frame base, resulting in an elegant ‘easy chair’ of extraordinary strength.

Our PK20 Lounger Reproduction follows the same dimensions as the original design, crafted with a stainless steel base and a wide choice of our Scandinavian leathers.

Come check it out in one of our showroom locations near you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

George Nelson and His Creative 'Zaps'

Can you recall a time your creative juices were running low and as soon as you stop trying to think about it… ZAP!  There’s the answer!

George Nelson saw these creative zaps as “when the solitary individual finds he is connected with a reality he never dreamed of.”  He was confident enough in his personal ‘zaps’ to build a prolific design career.  Still regarded as a forerunner of systems furniture, his designs can be found in homes and offices around the world.

 Our reproduction of George Nelson's Platform Bench uses the original dimensions created in 1948.  Its versatility allows it to be used as either a low table or additional seating in practically any setting. 

Come check it out along with everything else we have to offer in either our Chicago or Bellingham Showrooms!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Le Corbusier's 'Active Mode' LC1 Basculant Chair

“A house is a machine for living in.”

Le Corbusier declared these words and clearly based them around his designs.  He created his chairs in 3 different styles: active mode, comfort mode and relaxation mode, all depending on the setting and type of activity for which they were intended.  His first ‘active mode’ chair, the LC1 Basculant Chair, was originally intended as an office chair and had become useful in a wide range of other settings since its inception in 1928. 

Our LC1 Basculant Chair Reproduction still provides the reclining back that Le Corbusier originally designed to offer support in a variety of angles, so anyone sitting in it can find their most comfortable position.  We make our reproduction in a polished stainless steel frame, the more durable option than the original frame made from mild steel and chrome plating, and offer our chair in 15 leather color options. 

Come check out our LC1 Basculant Chair Reproduction in one of our showrooms near you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hans Wegner: Master Carpenter and Leading Designer

As a trained Master Carpenter, Hans Wegner prided his furniture creations on their meticulous craftsmanship using his carpentry skills.  His designs of the 1950s and 60s are what have made him one of the driving forces behind the Scandinavian Modern movement and his furniture creations are still relevant today.

Our reproduction of Wegner’s JH Lounge Chair fits perfectly in an office or living rooms setting.  Our dimensions honor the exact dimensions of the original with a level of comfort that would make Wegner proud.  We use a hardwood seat frame, polished stainless steel base and a variety of our Scandinavian leather options.

Come check it out in our Chicago or Bellingham showroom!

"The Intimacy of the Natural World" by Sharon Kingston

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Perfect Balance of Beauty and Strength

Mies van der Rohe appreciated the perfect balance of beauty and strength and applied this to his designs, like the Brno Chair.   The obvious elegance of this chair is his ideal that ‘less is more,’ a concept many designers still use.  To add functionality to his already elegant chair, he slightly curved the front legs of the sled base, resulting in only four points that touch the floor and maximizing the amount of weight this chair could hold-- and he was certainly not a small man!

Of all the beautiful designs of that era, we recognize the strength of his Brno chair design is what has made it a useful chair in the years since, and in a wide array of settings from dining tables to waiting rooms to executive offices.  Unlike most reproducers of this chair, we honor the exact dimensions of his original design since it is both the beauty and the strength that make this chair simply perfect.   
Come check out our Brno Chair Reproduction in either our Chicago or Bellingham Showroom!

Painting: "Learning to Bloom" by Sharon Kingston

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Saarinen's Designs of the Future

It is always entertaining to go back to any decade and explore how people envisioned the future.  If we were on track with the Mid Century era’s fantasies of the future, we might all be in flying cars, have robot maids to clean up and be living on a different planet.  Eero Saarinen’s distinct style of smooth arches and fluid-like curves in his designs seems to be the foundation of this commonly illustrated ‘space age’ aesthetic of the 1960s.

For example, the Star Trek crew aboard the USS Enterprise always looked comfortable sitting in Saarinen’s iconic tulip chair, as you may recall.  Does this chair bring any other childhood favorite television shows to mind?

Our Tulip Armchair Reproduction is set upon a cast aluminum swivel base with a molded fiber-reinforced polymer white shell.  We use high-resilient multi-density foam for the seat cushion that comes in a vast array of fabric or leather options.

Come check out this chair of the future in any of our showroom locations that may be in your area!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The New Modern Mix: an Inspiration Board

Some people refer to this look as "bohemian modern", we like to call it modern mix.  It is achieved by using elements such as great art, a mixture of modern furniture designs and colorful rugs for a comfortable space that is personal and easy to live in.

Using this wonderful photo from Nynne Rosenvinge’s Copenhagen apartment via femina as our inspiration, we've gathered together products from modernclassics.com to help you achieve the look of a colorful modern mix living area.

1.  Art
original oil painting
by Sharon Kingston

the future enters us
36 x 36 inches
oil on canvas
framed in floater frame
$1750  Shop modernclassics.com for this painting

2. Leather sofa in warm, camel color
PK31 Loveseat

Hardwood seat frame
Choice of brushed-satin or polished stainless steel base
Down feather filled cushions
Choice of Scandinavian Leather Colors
$3800  Shop modernclassics.com for this or similar sofas

3.  Statement Chair
Wegner: Shell Chair

8-ply molded plywood shell available in two wood finishes
Choice of leather colors
$920 as shown  Shop modernclassics.com for this chair

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Florence Knoll's 'Meat and Potatoes' Bench

During and age and industry of ostentation, Florence Knoll’s humility is unexpected and noteworthy.  Describing her pieces as ‘meat and potatoes’ and ‘the fill-in pieces that no one else wants to do,’ her aim was to complement the trending organic and curved shapes with her geometric furniture designs. 

Perhaps she would have given herself more credit if she knew the ageless and adaptable appeal of her furniture designs.  Perfect in their simplicity, her designs are elegantly unimposing making them useful in any setting from corporate lobbies to cozy living rooms. 

Our Knoll Bench Reproduction comes in a wide variety of our ‘boucle’ textured fabric or top-grain leather colors that are specifically suited for furniture of the midcentury era.  Our frame is crafted from 1 inch square stainless steel tubing, a more resilient material than her chrome plated mild steel that Florence had to use at the time, welded and polished to seamless perfection.

Come check out this new addition to our Chicago or Bellingham Showroom!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let's Define What Is 'Art Deco'

Certain words and terms have been used incorrectly for so long it seems we have lost track of what they actually mean.  Words like ‘literally,’ unless something is being told factually or ‘awesome,’ which must describe something that is awe-inspiring and does not apply to whatever you had for lunch.  ‘Art Deco’ seems to be one I hear frequently, as if it can apply to all types of art and design, when in fact it is much more specific.

In the context of furniture, Art Deco is a style that took its name in 1925 during the Paris Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts and flourished well in to the 1940s.  A few obvious design elements to look for when correctly speaking of this style are rounded corners, a set of three in the design, geometric forms and use of stainless steel.

When seeing our Art Deco Chair, one can be certain they are using this term correctly.  The stainless steel square tube frame curves around the back and supports the seat and back cushions made from high resilient multi-density foam and upholstered in our Italian top-grain, Grade A, aniline-dyed leather. 

Come have a seat in our Chicago or Bellingham Showroom and learn why this style has always remained in fashion!

Painting: "Learning to Bloom" by Sharon Kingston

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Poul Kjaerholm's Perfect Harmony of Tension

In studying the principles for building a cantilevered chair that were created by his predecessors of the Bauhaus movement, Poul Kjaerholm decided to create a lounge chair that took this method a step further... actually, three steps further.

Basic rules of physics state the perfect balance of tension and compression in the curved structure of the cantilever chair allows for immense strength.  Kjaerholm decided to optimize this strength by using the cantilever method in all elements of the chair, beyond just the legs.  The curved legs are connected to the curved side frames and attached to the transverse (and, you guessed it, curved) crossbar across the bottom of the seat.  These three cantilevers working in perfect harmony creates a permanent tension in the whole seat and back of this chair, and immense strength.

Our PK20 Lounger Reproduction accurately follows his original design, employing the rules of physics and graceful beauty Kjaerholm intended. Our Scandinavian Leather is sewn into tubes that are connected and give a ribbed diaphragm and contributes to the strength of the chair. 

Come check out this newest addition to our Chicago or Bellingham Showroom!

Painting: "The Future Enters Us" by Sharon Kingston

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wegner's Ox Chair and Picasso On My Mind

This past week, with the arrival of our Ox Chair Reproduction to the Chicago Showroom, I found myself passively thinking about Picasso’s Guernica the same way I’ll get a song stuck in my head.  It all made perfect sense upon realizing Wegner’s inspiration for this chair came from Picasso’s surrealism paintings in the 1930s.

Wegner does not specify which painting directly influenced his iconic Ox Chair and its safe to say he could have been influenced by any of Picasso’s surrealism paintings.  Does this chair bring any to mind for you?

Our Ox Chair Reproduction is crafted to the same dimensions as Wegner originally designed and comes in several color choices of our high quality fully aniline dyed Italian leather.  We use a high-density foam cushion over a molded fiber-reinforced polymer internal shell and stainless steel legs to ensure ultimate comfort for the many years you'll have this chair.

Come check out our Ox Chair Reproduction in either our Chicago or Bellingham Showroom!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Corona Chair: Novel Trend and Classic Icon

There is no magic recipe for what it takes to spark a trend among the masses, though we can say at least two of the ingredients are persistence and courage of one individual who is able to convince everyone else to follow an unprecedented fashion.  Even after it catches on and becomes all the rage, there’s no way to tell if it will go the direction of becoming a classic icon or fading away overnight—like my sneaker wedges sitting in my closet since last year.

In the case of Poul Volther and his Corona Chair’s debut in 1964, his Danish audience thought the chair was too trendy and bizarre, especially since there was nothing else like it at the time.  Fortunately, his US audience loved this innovative chair and the high demand turned this Corona Chair into a classic icon.

Our Corona Chair Reproduction has a swivel base of stainless steel legs, and our cushioning of high-resilient multi-density foam and molded fiber-reinforced polymer internal shell makes our version just as comfortable and beautiful as Volther’s version.

Come check out this new addition to our Chicago or Seattle Showroom!

Painting: "Learning to Bloom" by Sharon Kingston

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wegner's Most Comfortable Solution for Perfect Posture

Despite years of my mom telling me to sit up straight, a Rodin-esque slouch seems to be my default posture while sitting on my computer.  Beyond just not looking pretty, did you know poor posture causes many adverse health effects including poor digestion, spinal curvature, poor circulation and even increased stress levels?

Hans Wegner realized the value of proper posture and created his classic Wing Back Lounge Chair that combats that natural droop many of us collapse into while sitting down and focused on anything other than maintaining a straight spine.   

Our Wegner Wing Back Lounge Chair Reproduction employs the same dimensions and elements of Wegner’s original design to ensure proper posture.  Of the four stainless steel legs, the two back legs are lower than the two front legs, creating a backward slant in the seat that prevents that corrects the natural curve in the lower back, meanwhile the wings provide the most satisfying support in the upper back, neck shoulders and head.

Come check it out at our Chicago or Bellingham Showroom and experience how comfortable perfect posture can be!