A pair of 1950s bentwood armchairs – Model: Armchair 24-23, manufactured by Tatra Nábytok Pravenec, n. p.
These 2 beautiful bentwood beech armchairs were designed by Tatra Nábytok in the 1950s and are often cited as being designed by Frantisek Jirák – although, in reality, the designer is unknown.
They have at some time in their life been fully restored to the original beech wood colour and finish and upholstered in petrol blue linen fabric and are therefore presented in very good vintage condition. They also benefit from having the original labels, which were obviously salvaged in the upholstery process, that have been re-adhered to the base of each chair – this is very unusual as most of these chairs no longer retain the labels.
Clean and simple and with a gently curving bentwood structure, the chairs are both stylish and comfortable; perfect in a lounge setting or in a reception area.
The Tatra Furniture company (Nábytok translates as ‘furniture’) has a long and established tradition of producing Furniture in Martin, Slovakia that dates back to 1889 when it formed part of the Kingdom of Hungary at that time. Originally producing stools and a small collection of bentwood beech chairs the company’s elegant but also functional designs soon became sought after and they expanded sales to Africa, Australia and the USA. Originally established by the entrepreneurs Ladislav Dobrovits, Banskobystričan and Svagor Svetozar Hurban Vajanský the company was said to have inspired Michael Thonet and benefited from the knowledge gained from the THON factory’s expertise in bentwood fabrication.
Despite the success of the business the two World Wars took their toll, as it did with many furniture producers in that geographical area at the time. The company was therefore subsequently saved from bankruptcy on more than one occasion by Tatra Bank who eventually took a majority shareholding in the company and thus was renamed ‘Tatra Nábytok Pravenec, n. p.’ (national enterprise). This coincided with the company’s manufacturing base being moved to Pravenec in the Trenčín Region of western Slovakia in the early 1940’s. Here the company re-based it’s production method and once again flourished. At its height Tatra furniture managed ten factories throughout the Central Slovakia region and employed over 750 local artisans producing 2,000 pieces a day across a range that included furniture, hangers, tables, stools and even umbrellas. The company, that grew to become the largest Slovak chair manufacturer of the 20th Century, unfortunately closed in 2007.
Tatra had many designers working for the company throughout its history and won numerous design awards as well as having many high profile customers including the successor of the Austrian throne Ferdinand d'Este. However, each design was rarely credited with a designer’s name. This was highlighted by the “Anonymní ohýbaný nábytek (the Anonymous Bent Wood Furniture)“ exhibition which was held at Zámek of Bystřice pod Hostýnem in October 2014 that was devoted to the celebration of bent wood furniture produced in the Czech market in the post-war decade.
Often cited as a the designer of this particular chair, Frantisek Jirák, was almost certainly instrumental in the design and production of chairs at Tatra, but is full involvement in Model: Kreslo (Armchair) 24-23 is sadly unknown. Born in 1913 in Czech Republic, he studied in " Mistrovská skola stolarská " (School of masters joiners) as well as in the " Specialna skola meadow vnutornu architekturu " (special School of interior design) of Prague. He later worked on " Spojene UP zavody " (United Artistic and Industrial Companies) of Brno under Jindrich Halabala, and subsequently moved to Slovakia in 1948. It is here that his relationship with Tatra was developed. Soon after his arrival, he obtained the post of The Head of Development of the Regional office of wood manufacturing companies where his experience in ‘the development of new types of furniture for the wood industry’ was highly valued. In the late 60's, he collaborated with a state-owned company named "Novy domov" (New house) in Spisska Nova Ves where he worked as a designer until his retirement.
Other notable designers that worked for Tatra and for other furniture manufacturers in the region throughout the 20th Century are: Antonin Suman, Ladislav Gatial, Miroslav Škriniar, Ondrej Čverha and Štefan Bílik.
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Tatra Nábytok 1950s bentwood armchairs
Bentwood Beech and Linen
European Mid Century
Era or date of production
H 77 cm x W 70 cm x D 80 cm
Seat height: 42 cm
Number of pieces included in price
Very good with minor signs of age related wear
Questions or offer
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