This gorgeous set of eight Swiss mid-century modern dining chairs were designed in 1955 by the famed Hans Eichenberger. Called the Saffa chair it was produced by Dietiker in Switzerland and imported and sold in the United States by Stendig. It is purportedly Eichenberger’s favorite piece he created. It is comprised of two chrome-plated steel tubes which are intertwined to form the legs and arms of the chair. These two tubes are cane-wrapped together to form the back of the chair. The seat nests in between the two tubes and is covered in its original black faux leather vinyl. You know that old vinyl that you can’t tell whether it is leather or not. The patina on this set of chairs is phenomenal. You just cannot get the warm look of the cane wrap in a new chair. This set of eight will be incredible around any dining table you may have or find.
Hans Eichenbrger was born in 1926 and is a furniture and interior designer based in Herrenschwanden, near Bern. The early 1950s, after training as a carpenter, took him to Paris where he was part of a dynamic cultural milieu that impacted his life and career significantly; and when he returned to Switzerland he began his undeniable impact on 20th century Swiss design history. He collaborated with Trix and Robert Haussmann, Kurt Thut, teo jakob, and Alfred Hablutzel under the name of Swiss Design, as well as Atelier 5. These collaborations and his design projects for Swiss National Bank, the Kunstmuseum Bern, and the SBB are linked to the making of modern Switzerland. His work is included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, and the Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich. He won many awards and influenced designers in multiple generations and is still going strong.
Stendig was totally the brainchild and passion of Charles W. Stendig. You cannot write or talk about Stendig without explaining Charles. He was a pioneer of import goods in the mid-century. After serving in WWII as a paratrooper, he studied business with emphasis on international trade at NYU and City College of New York. Afterward first working for Raymor, another pioneering distribution company, for about two years, departing to start his own business: Stendig. He opened his first showroom in 1956 in midtown Manhattan. He is credited for sparking America’s interest in furniture from Finland, Switzerland, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. He imported from the likes of Thonet, Asko, and De Sede; and from iconic designers including Le Corbusier, Josef Hoffmann, Eero Aarnio, Tapio Wirkkala, Marcel Breuer, Jonathan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino, Paolo Lomazzi, Carlo Mollino, Carlo Scarpa, and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni to name just a few. By the late 1960’s, Stendig had showrooms in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco with a large headquarters in NYC. They were exciting and good times but short lived. The business was a challenge and when an offer was made by Burlington Industries to purchase, Charles agreed. He stayed on till 1976 to oversee and then retired. I have searched the internet to no avail to find out if a Stendig division is still in operation. But I can only find the Stendig Calendar, the only calendar in MoMA’s collection, which was designed for Stendig by Mossimo Vignelli, still offered. But I am having a hard time deciding who is creating and offering it. I do know Burlington Industries was bankrupt by 2001, purchased in 2003, merged with Cone Mills in 2004 and subsequently into ITG or International Textile Group. But the Stendig name reins as an icon of high style mid-century offerings.
To have such a large set of these iconic original mid-century modern chairs is practically unheard of. You must make them yours.