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Gerald Summers

Gerald Summers
1899 - 1967

Gerald Summers, one of the earliest designer-producers of functional furniture, formed "Makers of Simple Furniture Ltd." in 1929. Its purpose was to produce practical furniture in the modern style. In 1933, P. Morton Shand, editor of the Architectural Review, organized a small exhibition of the furniture of Alvar Aalto at Fortnum & Mason's department store in London. This was well received and proved to be influential. It was clear that modern bentwood suited English taste and offered an alternative to the coldness of the metal furniture that was then in fashion in modernist circles. In 1943, Summers produced this remarkable chair which, unlike the chairs of Aalto, is composed of a single sheet of bent plywood. Summers produced only 120 of these chairs. Today these are rare and sought-after collector's items. Makers of Simple Furniture Ltd. was forced to close in 1939 because of British government restrictions on the importation of plywood. Gerald Summers left furniture manufacturing and opened a factory for the production of ball bearings. In 1933, P. Morton Shand, editor of the Architectural Review, organized a small exhibition of the furniture of Alvar Aalto at Fortnum & Mason's department store in London. This was well received and proved to be influential. It was clear that modern bentwood suited English taste and offered an alternative to the coldness of the metal furniture that was then in fashion in modernist circles. In 1943, Summers produced this remarkable chair which, unlike the chairs of Aalto, is composed af a single sheet of bent plywood. The rounded, swept-back, continuous shape into which this single sheet is formed gives an aerodynamic, streamlined effect softened by elements which, at a later date, wound be described as "organic" or "biormorphic". Summers produced only 120 of these chairs. Today these are rare and sought-after collector's items. Makers of Simple Furniture Ltd. was forced to close in 1939 because of British government restrictions on the importation of plywood. Gerald Summers left furniture manufacturing and opened a factory for the production of ball bearings.