Rare reclining vintage Black leather Tulip chair by Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm for Kill International.
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Originally designed by powerhouse 1960s design team Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm in 1964, their Tulip chair has become an icon of Mid century Danish design. The actual original name for this chair that was produced by Kill International is ‘The Bucket Chair’ and it is still produced today by Walter Knoll under that name. Needless to say the name comes nowhere near close to portraying the beautiful and curvaceous lines it exhibits which is why over the years it’s often been referred to as the ‘Tulip’ or ‘Bird’ Chair.
It's production name is the FK 6725 which relates to the chair with the fixed base and seat. Other production variants number from 6725-6729 and also have been produced in a 3 leg (3G) or 5 star (5R) base and with or without castors. The original chair, as far as I can tell, was produced with a fixed seat and base, but later versions had a rotating seat - and later still a 5 star base with both a tilting and rotating seat. All production models had circular slides or castors fitted to the base of the feet so if you ever see a listing without one or the other they are missing in action.
What makes this particular chair very rare and possibly unique, as I have never ever seen another one like it, is two things: Firstly, nearly always the circular slides are polished aluminium, which is the same material as the leg construction. However, this particular chair has black sliders that look almost gunmetal in colour. And secondly, and of far more importance, is that it reclines. The only version of this chair that tilts backwards is the later production 5 star base models. And yet here we have a 3 legged fixed seat model that reclines; and if you look at the base supporting stem you’ll immediately see how rare that is. The stem features a circular chrome protrusion with a large black hex bolt in the middle. This encases a series of convex and concave washers (I know because I just had to take it apart to see how on Earth it worked!) These washers work against each other to create the tension that gives the spring in the recline and as such it always returns to the upright position. On this basis it won’t recline unless you want it to by simply pushing backwards; It’s therefore perfectly balanced and comfortable.
I’ve never seen another version of this chair with that feature and function and try as you may I challenge you to find one with the special protrusion in the stem that provides this functionality. I therefore don’t know if it was a prototype that never went into production or it was simply part of a very limited production run; but in any event it’s a rare beast indeed.
It’s in very good vintage condition with some marks to the leather and frame as you would expect commensurate with age. As regards the seat shell: This is not something that you can pick up from photos but it’s known that the shell can lose its structural integrity over the years depending on use. On that basis when you sit in a bad one you’ll know as the arms and back have too much give in them. I can therefore confirm that the fibreglass shell that forms the seat, back and arms on this chair are still in good order with no sign of structural weakness.
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Rare reclining Black leather Tulip chair by Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm
Leather, Chrome and Aluminium
Mid Century, 20th Century Design
Era or date of production
H106 X W75 X D65cm
Seat Height: 45cm
Tilt/Recline parameter: 20cm
Number of pieces included in price
Excellent vintage condition with signs of wear and patina commensurate with age.
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