Bent Plywood Armchair
Makers of Furniture
Gerald Summers 1933
The original Bent Plywood Armchair (BPAC) was designed by Gerald Summers in 1933 and sold by his company ‘Makers of Simple Furniture’ until the outbreak of the Second World War denied him supplies of the requisite materials.
It is widely reported that around 120 chairs were made during this period but it is likely that the figure was actually much lower than this. The number of chairs that survived the Blitz, or survive to this day, is unclear, but with originals selling for eye-watering sums, and now being over 80 years old, it is doubtful that many of them are being used for their primary purpose due to the risk of damage.
This is a crying shame, with the BPAC being not only beautiful to look at but also supremely comfortable to sit in. Unlike other plywood chair and loungers of the period Summers’ BPAC has no joints and no fixings, being formed, instead, from layers of flat, flexible plywood into which have been machined a few simple cuts. The genius of the design is the way in which the various sections of the plywood are pushed or pulled in one direction or another to form the legs, the arms, the seat and the back of the chair, all in one single pressing.
The process that I use to form the chair is different to that employed by Makers of Simple Furniture but has the benefit of allowing a decorative veneer to be added to the lamination, opening up a huge range of custom finish options to match any customer’s requirement. My versions of Gerald Summers’ iconic design are, I believe, the most accurate reproductions ever and the chairs are individually made-to-order in my workshop, predominantly by hand.