Way back when

Click to enlarge
Broadhead Bros, Fler SC55 armchair - a classic example of Scandi Modernism influences partnered with native hardwoods and wool upholstery.

Broadhead Bros, Fler SC55 armchair - a classic example of Scandi Modernism influences partnered with native hardwoods and wool upholstery.

1 of 3
John Crichton, mosaic tile bowl.

John Crichton, mosaic tile bowl.

2 of 3
Airest furniture - stylish and affordable, designed for New Zealanders who appreciated good design.

Airest furniture - stylish and affordable, designed for New Zealanders who appreciated good design.

3 of 3

Mid-century Modernism wasn’t just a style being developed overseas. Due to import restrictions, an influx of European émigrés and a local craft tradition, New Zealand designers created classic pieces that are now highly sought after.

The hardest working brothers in the industry produced some of the finest organic modern furniture to grace our shores; pieces that defined the Scandi-Pacific style of the day.

Harold and Alfred Broadhead set up Broadhead Bros in the Auckland suburb of Penrose in 1946. They aimed to provide beautiful furniture of the highest quality for the New Zealand lifestyle. By the early 1950s a staff of forty was needed to meet the demand.

On top of the latest trends, Alfred flew to Australia in 1956 to visit Fred Lowen’s furniture company Fler. The SC55 chair had been decorated with awards for its sleek curves and surfboard style armrests. Alfred was excited and impressed by the company. He also saw potential for Fler products back in New Zealand.

On Alfred’s return, the brothers secured a licence to produce Fler furniture. The arrangement specified meticulous quality standards, therefore investment in new plant and skilled labour was required. Their hard work paid off and the new furniture was well received in New Zealand. It was beautifully made and the pieces carried a lifetime guarantee.

Lowen paid a check-up visit to the Broadhead Bros operation in 1958 to review the firm’s production methods. Satisfied with what he saw, Lowen returned to Melbourne full of praise for Broadhead Bros.


More objects

Eastern Bloc

Eastern Bloc

A refined take on the utilitarian and industrial shapes from the Soviet era’s metal furniture design. Stalin would most certainly not be amused.
Driftwood

Driftwood

Shaped and brought to shore by the whim of curious tides.
Grids & graphs

Grids & graphs

Much like linear hatching in drawing and engraving, these pieces create shade and tone through lines that seem almost hand sketched.
Native accents

Native accents

Items using or referencing traditional handcrafts. Earthy materials, prints, colours, patterns and forms connect the home to other cultures and ways of living.
Colour’s revival

Colour’s revival

This edit is not quite ’80s. It is not entirely Memphis-inspired and definitely not for the faint-hearted. It is, however, loud, youthful and proudly eclectic.

Most read

Paris without a map

Paris without a map

From Mondrian to Margiela: a very personal blending of influences – design and otherwise – make this French apartment a veritable tour de force.
The skyline shifter

The skyline shifter

Ground is soon to be broken for The Pacifica, a soaring new apartment complex that has the ability to reinvigorate an enclave of Auckland’s downtown.
Casa Perfection

Casa Perfection

A house in the hills of Los Angeles has recently become a showroom for The Future Perfect, a design store with additional locations in Manhattan and San Francisco.
Made to measure

Made to measure

This sophisticated Moscow home shows how custom-designed spaces, furniture and fittings can take the uniformity out of apartment living.
Well connected

Well connected

Like a well kept secret, a renovated 1930s bungalow hides a black steel and glass addition from the street.
Homes for barter

Homes for barter

Urbis chats to the co-founders of a home exchange website aimed solely at creatives about trading their highly curated abodes with perfect strangers.