a chair so modern you would think of the eighties – but fifties it is: the ‚champagne chair‘, designed 1957 by estelle and erwine laverne. it was part of their ‚invisibles‘ group, a collection of organically formed acrylic seatings. the look-through effect of this innovative material helped them to develop furniture that didn’t obstruct the space of a modern interior.
a true mid-century modern couple, the laverne’s were artists that designed hand-painted wallpaper, furniture and fabrics. erwine laverne studied in the united states and then in europe from 1928. in 1934, he met estelle lester, they married and founded their own company ‚laverne international‘ in 1938. their works were included in the museum of modern art good design exhibitions of 1949, 1951, 1952, 1955 and 1956. they furnished the lobby of the general motors tech center in warren, michigan, designed by eero saarinen and harley earl (and fitted out with a lot of iconic mid-century modern works by charles & ray eames, finn juhl, harry bertoia et al.). so this is an impressive piece of fifties design history – and a wonderful object, too.
set of 4 ‚champagne chairs‘, designed in 1957 (source: detroit institute of arts), cast and polished aluminium, swivelling smoky plexiglass (also called ‚acryl‘ or ‚lucite‘) shell with auto return system. good vintage condition. cast label underneath the foot: ‚champagne chair laverne formes nouvelles‘
dimensions: h: 81,3 cm (32 in.), w: 60,33 cm (23,75 in.) d: 59,7 cm (23,5 in.), seat height: 48,26 cm (19 in.)