As many of you will know, I’m a fan of the store Rose and Grey which sells a mix of vintage and contemporary furniture and accessories. They recently opened a shop in Altrincham, which just proves it’s not all Londoncentric and today I wanted to show you their new chairs which you can order in a range of gorgeous colours including charcoal, olive, carbon, dark denim and sunflower.
The chairs appear instantly recognisable and you could be forgiven for assuming they were Danish and thinking no more of it. But they are, in fact, Polish. The one below was designed in 1962 by Josef Chierowski and, according to Maciek Cyrprk, co-founder of 336 Concept, the company behind the reissue, were so ubiquitous that, at the time, you could find them in every home, office, coffee shop and restaurant in Poland.
As with so many of the best design stories, Josef had a lucky break. A fire destroyed a furniture factory in Świebodzice and there was an urgent need for simple furniture that could be quickly produced. Josef took advantage of the situation and came up with the 366 easy chair. The factory bosses admired its simple clean lines and it went into production.
During the next 20 years some 500,000 chairs were sold in the Eastern bloc – when communism ended in the 1980s most of the country’s state-owned factories went bankrupt and production ceased. But 336 Concept have revived the chair, along with other classic pieces of the period, and brought them back into production in Poland.
They have stuck faithfully to the original designs and methods although the modern chairs are slightly larger – people are taller than they were in the 1960s. I’ll warrant they’re quite a bit heavier too but the new makers have diplomatically stayed away from that topic.
Now, enough of the history bit what about incorporating them into your home? The reason they work so well is the wooden arms. If you have a sofa and two armchairs then that’s a lot of upholstered stuff (or stuffing literally) in one room. Add in the cushions and, in the UK, our houses tend to be smaller that those in the US, and it can all be a bit suffocating.
A chair with wooden arms immediately balances out the plushness of your sofa. The space underneath allows you to see more floor so you think the room is bigger and, crucially, get the right sort of arm and you can rest a gin and tonic on it. Vital that. They are also small so will fit into apartments or, in a larger room, you could have a pair facing the sofa or at either end of it creating a chatting area around a coffee table. In an open plan room you can put two with their back to the rest of the room to zone a sitting area and, because they are wooden, it won’t look like a wall.
Also, note how some of these images have sheepskins draped over the chairs for added warmth and cosiness. That’s another trick you can do in the winter and then remove it in the summer to make everything feel a bit lighter.
I have followed this principle in my own sitting room but my current armchair is a little more curvy. A little more French if you like. It doesn’t really fit in but we can’t get rid of it because it has a high back and tall legs and is the only chair that both sets of parents can sit in and get out of.
But these could work. Prices start at £650 for the chairs and there are also coffee tables and footstools as well. Check out the rest of the collection here
A final picture because they are so lovely and because, ooh panelling – I am exerting a subliminal force on The Mad Husband you see….. this chair below is the Aarhus in ecru and it’s £750. This might be perfect against the dark (non-panelled *cries* )walls of my sitting room.