Category Archives: Cult Classic

NEW IN STOCK. ‘Armilla’ Armchair by Burkhard Vogtherr for Arflex

The Armilla armchair was designed by Burkhard Vogtherr (1990) for Arflex. This is an extremely comfortable chair thanks to its high backrest and a 360 degree swivel base. It has a metal frame covered with moulded polyurethane foam and fibre cover. It is upholstered in a very soft black patent leather.

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NEW IN STOCK: DSR ‘Eiffel’ Chair by Charles & Ray Eames for Vitra

NEW IN STOCK: DSR ‘Eiffel’ Chair by Charles & Ray Eames for Vitra

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JUST IN: ‘Coast’ Two Seat Sofa by Jardan Australia

JUST IN: ‘Coast’ Two Seat Sofa by Jardan Australia

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JUST IN: Replica Le Corbusier Chaise Lounge in Cowhide

JUST IN: Replica Le Corbusier Chaise Lounge in Cowhide

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Cult Classics: The pioneer of Scandinavian design, Alvar Aalto.

In the time between the two World Wars, it was the countries of Scandinavia that really began to develop a unique and revolutionary approach to design. Their approach to design was heralded for it’s cultivation of a fine balance – between the preservation of craft materials and traditions and standardized mass production and social reform. It is this unique Scandinavian synthesis of modernism that was born of the molded plywood and laminated birch chair designs of the young Finnish architect, AlvarAalto ( 1898-1976).

His armchairs, still manufactured by Artek (the company he establishe in Helsinki in 1935) were inspired by the light tubular metal furniture designed by Marcel Breuer at the Bahaus.

Number 32 Chair by Marcel Breuer (1928)

Whilst committed to the use of industrial processes, Aalto preferred wood to tubular metal and experimented with laminated birch (an abundant natural resource in Finland), in the process, doing away with upholstery and decoration. The use of laminate rather than carved woods permitted uniformity and ease of construction – thus his designs appeared industrial as opposed to hand-crafted. The use of organic forms and natural wood surface also served to soften the geometry and austerity of comparable metal constructed from standardized components. Most experts agree that his designs were in close continuum with the free and irregular abstract forms of surrealism.

Alvar Aalto Armchair 406

Aalto was able to explore the connections with Surrealism further in the design of glassware that suggests a particular analogie to the suggestive forms of the sculpures of Belgian-born sculptor, Jean Arp. This can be seen in Aalto’s Savoy vase of c.1936 with its amoeba-like form and plays to activate negative space.

Savoy vase, c. 1936

La Dame de Delos by Jean Arp

At HFOC we have some great Alvar Aalto pieces that would bring an important slice of Scandinavian design history into your home.

Alvar Aalto Cantilevered armchair, available at HFOC for $2600.00

Alvar Aalto armchairs (set of 6), available from HFOC for $3,500.00

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The queen of understated elegance, Barbara Barry.

“I believe that beauty is healing and inspiring; I want to help others see beauty in all areas of their lives.” – Barbara Barry.

She has an air of Coco Chanel about her. That understated glamour, that graceful and refined elegance and of course the pearls. And just like the Mademoiselle before her, American interior designer Barbara Barry (with a decidedly less glamorous name than her Parisian counterpart) advocates a design philosophy of simplicity and understated elegance. Just as Chanel changed the course of fashion by removing superficial decoration and advocating comfort in women’s clothing, Barry’s interior spaces are paired back to only simplest of design statements, encouraging every space to be as comfortable as it is beautiful.

A refined farmhouse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Barry was born of a family of artists and it is this upbringing she attributes to the way she sees her work. She explains, “I think of rooms as paintings, with the same requirement of composition, colour and clarity of line that create a balanced whole. In the products I design, I strive to find the fluid line, with forms that speak to the body and call us to use them.” Like an artist, she observes the spaces she works in terms of light, form, colour and texture and strives for harmony through perfect proportion and working with natural light and palettes derived from nature.

Barry designs a line of luxury fabric for Kravat

The designer has a huge following and her work clearly resonates with many people worldwide, perhaps more so now that we are witnessing a global design trend towards a more simplistic, quality-driven way of living. Her style holds its appeal in the refined elegance of her rooms, each one imbued with a characteristic air of peace and calm.

She is one of the most successful designers in creating what can only be described as a calm and comforting haven from the outside world and it is Barry herself who believes that, “good and thoughtful design can affect our lives profoundly, and hold us in quiet ways”. A philosophy she quite clearly upholds in everything she does.

Barbara Barry collection for Baker.

For those interested in her work, her public projects include The Savoy Hotel in London, Gordon Ramsey’s Boxwood Cafe at the Berkeley Hotel in London, the very smart A.O.C. restaurant in Los Angeles, the Brooks Brothers flagship store on Madison Avenue and the famous Avon Spa in Manhattan. Barry also has a best-selling line of furniture for Baker, plumbing fixtures for Kallista, fabric for Kravet, fine china for Wedgewood and crystal giftware for Baccarat.

Barry for Wedgewood.

HFOC currently has in stock a number of Barbara Barry items, that include the following:

Green glass lamp

Barbara Barry green glass lamp, $1,100.00 AUD.

Pleated glass lamp.

Barbara Barry pleated glass lamp, $1,100.00 AUD.

Lamp table.

Barbara Barry lamp table, $1,280.oo AUD. 

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Cult Classics: Life and works of Giò Ponti

Giò Ponti lies amongst the very greatest of Italy’s design talents. His work was vast and varied, dabbling in the realms of automobiles, furniture, interiors as well as building architecture. He was a pivotal figure in the history of twentieth-century design, remaining a firm source of inspiration for designers to this day.

Ceramic vessels designed by Ponti for Richard Ginori, c. 1924.

The works for which Ponti  is best known range from early ceramic work as design director for Richard Ginori, his architectural works, Milan’s Pirelli Tower and the Museum of Modern Art in Denver, his automobile designs for Alfa Romeo, interiors for Italian luxury liners, bathroom fixtures for American Standard and that very famous Superleggera chair for Cassina.

Pirelli Tower, Milano, 1958

It was the 32-story Pirelli Tower, the second skyscraper built in Milan, that many say was the climax of Ponti’s architectural career. It certainly raised his profile amongst the international community with Ponti drawing attention and commissions from places as far and wide as Venezuela and Baghdad, to Hong Kong and Denver.

Superleggera chair, 1957

Ponti himself regarded the Superleggera chair as one of his three masterpieces (together with the Pirelli Tower and the Concattedrale of Taranto). It represents a symbol of perfection and balance between solidity and lightness, with a minimum weight of 1,700 grams. It is the fruit of Gio Ponti’s research and the experimental and creative ability and expertise of Cassina and its craftsmen, who have produced this chair non-stop since 1957. Ponti said of his superbly symmetrical design that “In the darkness it will be even lighter because it will be supported by just two legs”.

The chair is a beautiful classic and we currently have one in store. Hurry, this piece will not stay on the floor for long.

Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti, available at HFOC for $680.71.

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