Some of the furniture you might have unwittingly discarded to the curbside a few years ago is now in extremely high demand. Those funky looking walnut chairs that once adorned the shag-carpeted living room of your grandparent’s split-level home? If you put them up for sale online, you will now have plenty of eager offers within thirty minutes. That other odd-looking chair you picked up at a Goodwill years ago, only because it reminded you of Robin Williams in Mork and Mindy? That’s called an Egg Chair, originally designed by Arne Jaccobson, and today an authentic one can fetch you thousands of dollars. Believe it or not, there was once a time when you couldn’t sell the average person a great piece of mid-century modern furniture in your front yard for twenty dollars. Only the design-buffs among us have consistently understood the greatness of these forgotten treasures, and they were sure to hoard plenty of them away before the crowd caught on.
From a furniture restoration standpoint, this new appreciation for mid-century modern furniture is a Godsend. Any time a person turns his or her back to buying inexpensive imported furniture from a big-box store, and elects to have a piece of well-made, solid wood-framed furniture restored, a very wise market decision is being made. In addition, I believe the person is also allowing for something very important to occur: through the near-lost art of furniture restoration and upholstery, the legacy of great artists and their life’s work is being carried on into the future for all of us to enjoy.
When you think “cool”, the first thing that pops into your mind might not be a guy who designs furniture, but take a quick glance at the artist above and allow it to at least superficially change your mind. In the photo, Hans Wegner is contemplating a model prototype of the Poppa Bear Chair, just one of the 500-plus chairs that this Danish master designed in his lifetime, dozens of which have become absolute icons in popular culture. Like Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobson, Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen, and many others, the man lived and breathed his design ideas right into our collective consciousness. We may not know these artists by name, but we recognize their work because it has permeated the world around us.
Last year, we at Finish Pros were honored to work on one of the early Poppa Bear chairs, and it was given new life through an upholstery transformation that I think would have made Hans Wegner proud. It’s more than gratifying to know that through the art of furniture restoration and upholstery, our craftsman are able to carry on the legacy of great artists and their life’s work, all while making our customers exceedingly happy. Here’s to you Hans...