1958 Easy chair for my first Canberra house 14 Jansz Crescent, Griffith (OB3)

Easy chairs were needed for my first Canberra house so I tried out my first chair designs which were made largely by Kees Westra, a cabinet maker that Fred used for some ANU Design Unit contracts in my early days at ANUDU.

Kees made two frames in Blackwood and finished everything except the arms and front legs which I carved later to my satisfaction with a spokeshave and chisel. The angle of the backrest is adjustable, but having found the right angle they have stayed at that angle for 57 years.

The cushions are loose on Pirelli webbing which has not proved entirely satisfactory.

Looking at it today (2015) I see them as very visually balanced chairs but the upholstery has not been satisfactory. It is comfortable posturally but the leading edge underneath the thighs needs a very delicate balance between comfort and without any feeling of the cross rail underneath. The Pirelli elastic strapping has been difficult to fix and over time it usually relaxes and becomes inadequate. I have never found the time or inclination to really solve it – other aspects of my life have always seemed to be more important.

There are two chairs and the cushions of one has always looked much better than the other so it needs a sensitive upholsterer to work on it.

1958 Jansz Cr. armchair detail

 The top joints of the side frames are pinned open morticed and tenoned and have remained firm over 56 years.

My sculpting of the arms still looks good.

There are only two of these chairs in existence – both in the Mawson house.

1958 Jansz Cr armchair