Dion Neutra made two previous attempts to put them into production, and finally he has succeeded. VS, a leading German contract furniture company, is manufacturing Neutra’s best designs for its first foray into the consumer market. Handmade objects have many variations, and sketches are open to interpretation. That gave VS the opportunity to make subtle changes in the size and detailing of the seating, with the approval of Neutra scholar Barbara Lamprecht, to enhance comfort and resilience. Cantilever chairs are available with wood or tubular metal frames; sofas are handsomely upholstered, and tables are fabricated from different woods. Thus a score of designs are available in many variations, giving us a fresh look at a legend we thought we knew.
The exhibition, which runs through March 26, is handsomely installed by Andrew Byrom. A Constructivist sculpture by Rolf Lieberknecht, composed of wood elements from the Boomerang chair, sets off the individual pieces, which have a strong sculptural quality of their own. Other architects—most recently David Adjaye, and Ben Berkel of UN Studio—are adding to the legacy of architect-designed furniture that began with Frank Lloyd Wright, more than a century ago. In contrast to ephemeral fashions in decoration, the best of these pieces have a timeless presence.