In our home we have a set of dining room chairs that most people believe to be Scandinavian, but are actually South African. There was a period between the 1950s and the 1970s when a small number of local furniture manufacturers were making high-end pieces, that in the words of publishers, Taschen, “could hold their own alongside the best in the world” (Decorative Art 1950). Kallenbach’s was one such furniture manufacturer, who worked with acclaimed designer John Tabraham to produce some beautifully made, and beautifully designed pieces – pieces that were designed to last a lifetime.
Today’s chairs, presumably designed by Tabraham in the early 1970s, were originally made with leather seats. When we bought the chairs the leather was still intact, but sadly was too badly worn to justify keeping, so we used the leather as a template and had the seats remade in a thick, durable upholstery fabric. I think they’ve worked out really well – the chairs are super comfortable, and really handsome, although are also very sizeable, so need some space to be shown off properly! In addition to redoing the seats, we’ve sanded and varnished the wood, which has the most wonderful grain to it.
These are proper design pieces, that to my mind are well worth the investment – I think you’d be looking at double, if not triple this price for a contemporary version that could match the style and quality of these South African classics.
Note: Please look carefully at the close-up photos of the fabrics. We’ve upholstered the chairs in two different materials, one of which has a slight metallic look to it. There are two matching pairs for sale today, making a total of four chairs
Dimensions: Each chair measures 75cm wide x 73cm deep x 79cm tall
NB: Deliveries can be arranged in Joburg for a fee of R250/Please arrange own transport for the rest of the country