ABOVE Image courtesy of ABC Radio National.
Devoted to promoting a philosophy of good design and opposing the stifling forces of conservatism, Grant and Mary Featherston achieved success in the 1950s with an alternative to the over-stuffed, bulky lounge suites of the pre-war period. The now-famous contour chair can be still found in living rooms, fashionable design stores and museums.
The chair continues to be an example of molding furniture to the human body. In Australian Furnishing Trade Journal, Gwen Atkinson relates the genesis of this form in a humble tram ticket:
Travelling citywards one morning, he absently twisted and folded his tram ticket and suddenly the answer lay in his hand, in the small, torn piece of paper. Atkinson, Gwen. Australian Furnishing Trade Journal, March 1955.
The flexibility of plywood offered Featherston the opportunity to experiment with bending wood whilst maintaining strength.
The latter part of the 20th century was a period of remarkable growth in the Australian design world. In 1980, the appearance of Tony Fry's influential reference book Design History Australia reminded professionals of the need to consider design within a social and economic context of Australian history. There are a number of Australian designers currently achieving success and developing strong reputations within the fiercely competitive global context.
From the information we've gathered so far, this Featherston chair Tony has, was one of Grant Featherston's very early designs, probably around 1947 and is known as a "Relaxation Chair"
We're still researching, but if anyone out there is reading this and has more info we would love to hear from you.
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