Birch Plywood Armchair

birch plywood armchair, Gerald Summers, formed plywood

Philafrenzy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Date: 1934

Designer: Gerald Summers

Place of Origin: United Kingdom

This armchair has a clever and uncomplicated design, made from a single sheet of plywood. Composed of thirteen layers of cross-grained veneer, it is initially cut with four straight lines delineating the arms and back legs. The sheet is then pressed in a wooden mold for eight hours while the glue is still wet. This process imparts the distinctive curvature to the chair’s legs and arms, with only the front legs requiring post-moulding cutting.

Gerald Summers, part of a cadre of European designers in the early 1930s, pushed the boundaries of form and structure using innovative materials like plywood. The resulting armchair is a testament to both Summers’ ingenuity and the exploration of novel possibilities in furniture design during that era.

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