05 OCT 2018

Tibor Donner House, 1947

Last weekend we were delighted to take part in the Auckland Heritage Festival viewing of the home built for his family by Hungarian architect Tibor Donner.

Words by Emma Eagle, Photography by Dan Eagle

Donner was part of a wave of emigré architects which contributed to the modernist design landscape emerging in New Zealand in the 1940s. He has left a significant mark on Auckland's architectural heritage with the work done for Auckland City Council – most notably the Parnell Baths and the Civic Administration Building.

The recently restored home and studios he created for his own use are outstanding works of mid-century architecture of themselves. A unique curved form influenced by Art Deco lines is combined with a flat roof structure and matched perfectly to the elevated Titirangi site which overlooks the city. Thoughtful details like the series of rectangular forms cut away from the roof line offer texture and add to the sense of lightness.

Internally, we loved the continuous use of inbuilt cabinetry throughout the home and the use of warm, inviting materials like wood and cork. The lounge and dining spaces are delightful, light filled spaces which are perfect for entertaining and connect seamlessly with the exterior.

Of course we couldn't finish a post about Tibor Donner's home without giving a mention to the incredible and unique curved plywood armchair which seems to have been a one-off design. As was the tradition of the time, Donner often designed furniture for the buildings he created. We have been lucky enough to collect some of these pieces over time.

More inspiration you might like

Introducing the Cheerful Wooden Characters of Kay Bojesen

Kay Bojesen is one of the most celebrated names of Danish design, and for very good reason. The silversmith and designer for which the brand is named dedicated his life to crafting small wooden toys of the highest quality for gifting to loved ones on special occasions.


Tel Aviv – Bauhaus Capital City

If you had to guess where the largest collection of Bauhaus or ‘International Style’ architecture was located, the safe bet would be a German city like Berlin, Stuttgart, or even Dessau. The correct answer is surprising – it’s the Israeli city of Tel Aviv or the ‘White City’ as it’s affectionately known.


Mid-Century Architecture in Focus – The Liberal Catholic Church of St. Francis (1964, Grafton)

Visiting a small but perfectly formed mid-century building by Jack Patterson.


New Zealand Modern Collection | Opens October 18, 2018

At the heart of Mr. Bigglesworthy there has always been a love for local modernist design. Each year we hold back some of our favourite New Zealand pieces to showcase them together in a special 'NZ Modern Collection' collection.