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2012/125/1 Lounge suite, 'Numero IV', chairs (5) and ottomans (2), polyurethane foam / ABS plastic / wool, designed by Grant and Mary Featherston, made by Uniroyal Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1973-1974. Click to enlarge.

'Numero IV' lounge suite by Grant and Mary Featherston

Designed
One of the new wave of Australian designers to emerge in the immediate post-war years, Grant Featherston (1922-1995) designed his first chair in 1947. In the early 1950s he developed the now famous 'Contour' range of chairs. First launched in 1951, the 'Contour' was an immediate success; its innovative plywood shell formed using a process that Featherston developed himself in the absence of suitable plywood bending technology locally. In 1957 Featherston was appointed consultant designer to …

Summary

Object No.

2012/125/1

Object Statement

Lounge suite, 'Numero IV', chairs (5) and ottomans (2), polyurethane foam / ABS plastic / wool, designed by Grant and Mary Featherston, made by Uniroyal Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1973-1974

Physical Description

Modular lounge suite comprising five chairs and two ottomans in squared-off polyurethane foam with depressed seat, covered in lime green wool.

Marks

Label under cushions, 'Numero IV'.

Dimensions

Height

610 mm

Width

775 mm

Depth

775 mm

Production

Notes

The lounge suite was designed by Grant and Mary Featherston and made by Uniroyal Pty Ltd (now Bridgestone), in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1973-1974.

Part of the success of Grant (later joined by Mary) Featherston was the ingenious use of materials that compensated for a lack of industrial processes in Australia. In tune with their awareness of technology, the Featherstons embraced new materials and by the late 1960s were producing furniture in fibreglass, ABS and steel, in addition to wood. By 1973 the Featherstons designed their first modular lounge using polyurethane foam which was new to the market. 'Numero IV' was a tremendous success for the Featherstons and also Uniroyal, makers of the foam. Variations on the 'Numero IV' followed with 'Numero V', 'Numero VI' and the 'Charlton'. The Powerhouse has an example of the later Charlton (see 92/1748) modular corner suite.

In terms of Numero IV's manufacture, Terence Lane (1988) notes, 'Each unit was cast in an aluminium mould as a single block of foam, fitted with a removable cover and mounted on an ABS plastic disk base - the only rigid component.'

History

Notes

The Featherston name is one of the most recognised names in Australian furniture since the 1950s. The contour chair range designed during the 1950s dominated interior design magazines of the day and Featherston furniture continued its success in later decades by embracing developments in technology that suited forms appropriate to the aesthetics and life-style of any given period. As Terence Lane observes, 'His [and later Mary's] furniture is also a mirror of taste and fashion... the increasing informality of life in the 1960s and 1970s - the era of the Bean Bag and modular furniture - found its reflection in the Obo chair and Numero suites (Lane 1988: 9).'

In the mid 1970s, newly-married Ina and Rob Peady bought, at great expense, this lounge new, and to compliment it also acquired 'groovy' patterned green wall paper. An example of this wallpaper is included with the acquisition (see 2012/125/2). Ina Peady notes, '...alas, we do not have any photographs of the suite with the wallpaper from the house in Temora in the 70s. In those days we took [35mm photographic] slides, and they got thrown out years ago in a move. I remember travelling to Newcastle to purchase the suite from a then renowned furniture store there, and bringing it home in our navy blue Ford Falcon station wagon with trailer attached; a price of approximately $629 sticks in my mind. Big, big money in the 70s for a newly married couple putting together their dream home' (Ina Peady May 2012).

Reference:
Lane, Terrence (1988), 'Featherston Chairs', National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 2012

Acquisition Date

22 October 2012

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Numero IV' lounge suite by Grant and Mary Featherston 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 2 August 2021, <https://ma.as/445213>

Wikipedia

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