Celebrating plywood

On July 20, 2017 · 0 Comments

Alvar Aalto's Paimio chair, on display at the V&A's plywood exhibitionCurrently showing at the V&A, ‘Plywood: Material of the Modern World’ celebrates the incredibly diverse applications of an often overlooked material.

The exhibition explores how plywood has been used to design and construct objects large and small, from architecture and aeroplanes to skateboards and sewing machine covers.

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Unsurprisingly, the use of plywood in furniture design forms a significant portion of the show.

An enviable array of chairs, tables and stools are on display, from icons of twentieth-century design to lesser-known but no less fascinating pieces.

Objects from the exhibtion 'Plywood: Material of the Modern World' at the V&A

Inspired by the show, we have compiled our own tribute to plywood, selecting our favourite designs formed using this remarkable material.

Ranging in scale from furniture to homewares, twentytwentyone’s pick of plywood pieces includes modernist icons such as the Paimio chair by Alvar Aalto and Marcel Breuer‘s Short chair (both of which appear in the V&A exhibition)…

Alvar Aalto, Paimio chairMarcel Breuer, Short chair… to mid-century classics by Charles and Ray Eames and Norman Cherner.

LCW calfskin chair by Charles and Ray EamesCherner armchair by Norman ChernerContemporary designers including Jasper Morrison and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec continue to explore the potential of plywood…

Hal ply tube chair by Jasper Morrison for VitraBelleville chair by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra… and we couldn’t neglect designs at a slightly smaller scale, such as the Tricorne tray by Robin Day.

Tricorne tray by Robin Day‘Plywood: Material of the Modern World’ is on at the V&A until November, but you can enjoy our own plywood edit from the comfort of your own home.

twentytwentyone is 20: February

On February 24, 2016 · 0 Comments

twentytwentyone is 20

twentytwentyone was founded in 1996, making 2016 its 20th anniversary year.

We are marking this milestone with a series of monthly features and events – both in-store and online – recalling the people, designs and occasions that have been formative in our development.

In January, we launched our anniversary year with an edit of 20 favourite furniture designs launched over the past two decades. For February, we present an edit of most missed vintage designs sold since 1996.

This look back over some of the exceptional designs we have sold includes rare and highly sought-after furniture and lighting by the twentieth century’s greatest designers, including Alvar Aalto, Robin Day, Charles and Ray Eames, Geoffrey Harcourt, Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton and Gio Ponti – as well as some anonymous and attributed designs.

View the edit in full here.

The Swivel chair by Geoffrey Harcourt

80th anniversary Stool 60

On March 1, 2013 · 0 Comments

The 1930s marked a breakthrough for Alvar Aalto both as an architect and a designer. The Stool 60 was first introduced to the international public at the “Wood Only” exhibition in London in 1933, to rave reviews. The simple, stackable and durable wooden stool represented a new approach to furniture design.

The important factor that has made the stool 60 famous is the way the legs are manufactured, which is based on Aalto’s invention for bending solid wood. The procedure is saw cuts are made in one end of the blank for the L-leg and thin pieces of veneer are dipped in glue and forced into the gaps in the resultant fan. Then the wood is bent to a 90 degree angle using heat and pressure. The finished leg is screwed directly to the underside of the seat. This method superseded complicated joints which called for a high degree of work by hand.

This was a major leap forward towards genuine series production of furniture, which is exactly what Aalto was aiming for in the early 1930s.

To celebrate Artek have produced a series of Anniversary special editions of the Stool 60. The Mike Meiré ones below are now in store;


Available soon are also the three special editions by Rei Kawakubo, NaoTamura and Monocle;

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