Smart pair of teak armchairs model Kolding designed 1961 by Erik Wortz for IKEA !

Smart pair of teak armchairs model Kolding designed 1961 by Erik Wortz for IKEA !

IKEA is today best known for its cheap flatpack furniture , but particularly in the late 1950s and 1960s they used some top designers such as Erik Wortz , Arne Wahl Iversen , Kai Kriistiansen and Bengt Ruda . IKEA started off as a Mail Order company selling small items , but then expanded into the furniture market selling quality pieces at sensible prices using their advantage of not needing a physical presence on the then traditional High Street . Today we take this “warehouse ” approach as being normal , but at the time they were trail blazing . Eventually of course they started to build warehouse showrooms open to the public which have spread across the world .

In 1961 when the Kolding range of sofa and chairs were designed people expected solid properly made furniture whether it was traditional in style or the latest look . By the late 1960s this idea was changing year by year , but even so IKEA still made and sold some premium top quality ranges which can be very sought after today . The Stockholm range of painted Gustavian style furniture along with this Kolding range in solid teak are both now sought after . When the Kolding chairs were made IKEA were still only selling in Sweden so this model is rarely seen outside that beautiful country today . We sourced this lovely pair of chairs through a Swedish contact who brought them over to the UK .

We’ve given the chairs a light clean and oil , and like all the best solid teak pieces that we see from the early 1960s they have come up beautifully with a lovely lustre and shine . Maybe not quite as finely detailed as some Danish designs by Finn Juhl , Ib Kofod Larsen and some other obvious names but then they’re nowhere near as expensive . So don’t be put off by the IKEA tag , as they’re really beautiful , stylish and of a quality that you will struggle to find anywhere today . Unlike many later chairs from even the best Danish makers they have sprung cushions rather than just foam ones . Easy to have re-upholstered in the fabric of your choice .

We’re going to add photos of some other chairs that were only available from IKEA which we’ve taken photos of from a book we have called Svenska Stolar by Dan Gordan . The ” Cavelli ” chair designed by Bengt Ruda has to be one of the most stunning mid-century armchairs that you’ll ever see and would sell for a small fortune today if you could find one ! Unfortunately even though it didn’t cost a lot when new it’s extremely rare as on the whole Swedish buyers were far too conservative to buy such an amazing piece . Its one of those pieces i’d love to be able to travel back in time to source to sell today .

Erik Wortz is one of a number of Danish designers who deserves to be better known , and we’ve already blogged about him once before , so have a look and see what else you can find out there that he designed .