An exceptional Bespoke midcentury executive desk constructed in Wenge, stainless steel and chrome with matching black leather chair designed by Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm for Kill International.
Jørgen Kastholm, the prolific Danish architect and industrial designer, met Preben Fabricius in 1961 and began a partnership that generated some of the most sought after designs of the 20th century. Despite only working together for just 7 years they produced a stunning array of chairs, sofas, tables and desks for Alfred Kill of Kill International. Primarily concerned with functional design paired with a minimalist aesthetic their work is instantly recognizable and this is especially so given that they chose to feature steel and leather in their work when many of their Danish counterparts preferred to use wood. Many of their designs are still produced today by Walter Knoll.
All their desks are based on a stainless steel main frame, often with chrome legs and always joined by black hex head machine screws. The frame is then configured with additional wooden cabinets and usually finished with a thick glass top or wooden top. As such there are numerous variations on this theme but I have never see another desk like this before. It most definitely has all the main elements, as previously described, but also features a black leather panel to the top and a floating bookshelf at the back. This makes it truly unique and was no doubt made as a bespoke item for a particular client. Whilst they did make some desks in Rosewood often the wood in many other listings is misattributed. Generally, both for their large conference tables and desks, they preferred to use Wenge which is an exotic tropical hardwood favoured for its strength, durability and figuring. You’ll understand why that strength was important when you see the filing cabinet to the left as it’s monumentally heavy! The desk benefits from fully extendable draws and the original locks and keys and the backs and fronts of the cabinets are finished in black as are many of their desks cabinets.
The desk comes supplied with a matching chair and that’s why I again believe the whole set was bespoke for a client as it features some interesting details. Most noticeable is that the chair is made to the exact dimensions of the desk so that it can be fully pushed under to save space and fits exactly between the cabinets (as well as the arm height being exactly the same height as the cabinets too). Less noticeable, but equally important, is that because of this exact fit it means the key barrels have been recessed into the cabinets to allow space for the chair. You might not consider that terribly significant but if you look at pretty much every desk they made that had lockable draws the key barrels always stick out around 2 cm from the cabinet; so this piece has been specifically designed for purpose.
The desk can of course be supplied without the chair (a reduction of £500 would apply) but it would be a shame to separate them as they have been together for over 50 years. But apart from that the chair choice is of fundamental importance, which again is not immediately obvious on first sight. For example, I do have one of the classic Fabricius and Kastholm ‘Tulip’ chairs for sale via another one of my listings on this website HERE and it would be a wonderful aesthetic match to this desk. However, the arms are too wide and therefore encroach on your ability to open any of the draws while sitting at the desk! Needless to say this functional detail is very important and the chair supplied is therefore not only very comfortable but also perfectly suited to day to day use.
The set is in excellent vintage condition with just a few marks to the glass, the frame and leather just as you would expect. None stand out at all but if you look very carefully at the left desk leg there are some marks in the chrome that amount to what looks like a slight discoloration. I have highlighted these in one of the photos but as the chrome is so reflective in normal day to day use they would be very difficult to see.
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Bespoke vintage desk with matching chair by Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm
Wenge, Glass, Stainless Steel and Chrome
Mid Century Modern, 20th Century Design
Era or date of production
Desk: H 70 x W 155 x D 70cm
Knee hole size – H 67 x W 59 x D 50cm
Chair: H 86 x W 58 x D 60cm
Seat height 48cm
Arm height 65cm.
Number of pieces included in price
Very good vintage condition with signs of wear commensurate with age.
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