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.