JOSEF HOFFMANN'S 1903 Fledermaus Cafe chair; Le Corbusier's Siege Salle de Bains, a 1929 bathroom stool; Thonet's ubiquitous 1923 Hoffmann chair, Marcel Breuer's 1925 Wassily chair -- all these designs from the early part of this century are now being revived and reproduced.
Early 20th-century style seems to be all persuasive at the upper price brackets of the architect-and decorator-design level, judging by the recent Designer's Saturday held in New York City.
In High Point, N.C., the '10s and the '20s shiny look is seen in the use of brass and lacquer tables, according to Sarah Jenkins of W & J Sloane's. Claus Mahnken of Woodward & Lothrop's pointed to Paul Evans brass covered furniture as carrying out the trend. The overstuffed chair and sofa of the '20s is popular again, he noted. Julian Tomkins of Bloomingdale's points out that "we see a great deal of cloth covered, super-stuffed furniture because today we don't have enough good wood and good wood craftsmen to turn out elaborate wood frames."
Two of Resources Council's 9th annual product design awards went to two very '20s pieces: the Eileen Gray adjustable smoking table in polished chrome and glass, made by Stendig from an early 20th-century design; and a solid maple chair by Ben Baldwin for Jack Lenor Larsen, a very sturdy '20s wooden arm chair and a tight seat.
Helikon's armchair by Udstad/Dandridge Associates would fit very well into your old Vienna look. But it's really the careful reproductions being marketed by International Contract Furnishings, Inc., and Atelier International that lead the list. Josef Hoffmann, the founder of the Wiener Werkstette design cooperative in Vienna, is, after all these years, one of the hottest designers in town. ICF is reproducing several of his designs. His cabinett chair, two-seater sofa and table, circa 1910, is in a Jacquard fabric designed by Koloman Moser, Hoffmann's partner at Wiener Werkstatte.
Hoffmann's famous Fledermaus chair, settee and table were designed in 1909 for the Fledermaus cafe, the locale for the Secession artists, and designers. The armloeffel chair is a 1908 geometric grid design stolen from the Scottish Mackintosh. The 1903 Purkersdorf Sanitarium chair with its Op Art pillow is another Mackintosh derivative. The 1911 Haus Koller chair, heavily influenced the Paris arts decoratif . And the 1910 kubus chair, laid a heavy hand on the furniture of both Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.
Atelier International is heavy into Le Corbusier designs. They have for some years reproduced his chaise longue -- famous for its sybaric unborn calves skin cover. Now the chair is available in linen with a leather trim. Atelier has five new models of Le Corbusier, including the 1929 padded stool with or without a backrest and the bathroom stool. All were designed by Le Corbusier in collaboration with Pierre Jeannert and Charlotte Perriand. Two- and three-seat sofas, never before manufactured but in the same style as the armchairs that are so familiar from the Museum of Modern Art, are now available. Atelier boldly has gone on to offer the designs with color frames and fabrics, instead of the leather and chrome that have been standard for so long.
Knoll International has never let the '20s go out of style. Each year they add another piece or two to the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe collection of furniture. The Barcelona chair, the chaise longue, the dining and side chairs, the table, all these (now on view in the National Gallery of Art) are the very epitome of the elegance of the '20s. Stendig has reproduced for several years the classic bentwood pieces including the coat rack, the 1923 Prague (Hoffman), and the Corbusier chair.
These designs are all available in the Washington area through independent and store interior designers.