Short Chair, 1936
Designed by Marcel Breuer; manufactured by the Isoken Furniture Company.
Moulded 5-ply birch plywood seat/back; 10-ply laminated birch frame, with 7-ply birch plywood struts faced with zebrano veneer.
This chair’s thin and light seat was moulded as a single piece of plywood. The strength of the material gives the impression of a seat floating on air, suspended in its frame. Plywood seats for Breuer’s Short Chairs were moulded in batches by the Estonian company Luterma. They were shipped to Britain and then attached to locally-made laminated wood frames.
Part of Plywood: Material of the Modern World
(July to November 2017)
Plywood is made by gluing together thin sheets of wood called veneers, with the grain of each sheet running in an alternate direction. This creates a material that is stronger and more flexible than solid wood. The technique has been around for a long time – as early as 2600 BC in ancient Egypt – but it was not until the 1850s that plywood started to be used on an industrial scale.
Featuring groundbreaking pieces by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer and Charles and Ray Eames, alongside an incredible range of objects from planes to skateboards, this exhibition told the story of how this often-overlooked material made the modern world.