At EMFURN, we love visiting furniture exhibitions and seize any opportunity to spend the day wandering through the galleries of design museums. One of our favorite furniture collections is situated in the Dr. Susan Weber Gallery at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Featuring outstanding pieces of British and international furniture from the 15th century to the present day, this gallery is a must-see for any furniture lover.
Opened to the public a year ago, it is the first-ever gallery in the V&A dedicated to furniture. It focuses on questions of form and function, in addition to techniques of construction and decoration throughout the years. The pieces are arranged thematically with objects from different eras displayed side by side. Showcasing over 200 pieces this exhibit is truly spectacular!
Designed as part of the V&A’s future plan to transform the Museum through new galleries, the collection features a central chronological display that highlights 25 key pieces. Among them, we found the innovative storage unit by Charles and Ray Eames designed with interchangeable parts and the ingenious Table=Chest, a folding table that can be used as a small chest of drawers created by Tomoko Azumi.
During our visit, we spotted pieces by some of our favorite designers like the award-winning Verner Panton Chair and the recognizable DAW by Charles Eames, two iconic pieces made in molded fiberglass with organic, fluid lines. One of the pieces that really caught our attention was the Marcel Breuer Stackable chair, a piece made in exceptionally thin birch plywood.
We couldn’t help but think of the China Chair, designed by Hans J. Wegner and inspired by a portrait of Danish merchants when we saw this chair featuring a rounded back. These chairs were used in a variety of domestic and official contexts and often belonged to affluent households or prosperous merchants. Another stunning piece was the Burgomaster chair, veneered with ivory. Featuring a rotating seat, this type of chair was originally used as a barber’s chair.
Ron Arad and Tom Dixon couldn’t be missed out in this collection. The S chair is also one of our favorite pieces, its original sinuous shape and the materials and techniques used in its construction make of this piece a truly modern furniture icon.
Created on the occasion of the opening of this Gallery at the V&A, the fascinating Chair Bench, designed by Gitta Gschwendtner, features six original chairs on display in the furniture gallery that have been set randomly into the curved bench, each back mismatched with a different set of legs. Can you solve the puzzle? We’ll give you some hints: Thonet number 14 chair is mixed with the Sgabello chair (made in 1560) while the backrest of Frank Lloyd Wright's dining chair goes with the Windsor armchair set of legs.