Garth Chester 'Curvesse' Chair

Garth Chester (1916–1968) is one of New Zealand's most important modernist furniture designers.

W 61cm, D 64cm, H 69cm | Seat H 39cm




The iconic 1944 'Curvesse' chair by Garth Chester is considered to be one of the most important early modernist chairs produced in New Zealand. It's proof that in the right hands, even a humble sheet of plywood can be elevated into something bold, memorable and timeless. Historian Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins recounts that the Curvesse Chair, was "the first cantilevered plywood chair to appear anywhere in the world ...a progressive high point in local design."

The elegant cantilevered design pushed the limits of plywood construction and the tastes of a conservative New Zealand public. Unfortunately the Curvesse was not a commercial success and only around 500 were ever produced. Today the few remaining chairs are closely held and highly coveted by serious collectors, or in the permanent collection of major museums. This is a very rare opportunity to obtain a celebrated modernist Kiwi icon!

NOTE: All items from the New Zealand Modern Collection will stay on view in the gallery until the end of Saturday, October 3


Materials: Beautifully crafted from moulded plywood

Wood Finish: We have approached this chair with a view of conservation and preservation. It has been cleaned and polished but not refinished. Our aim was to preserve the history and patina of the chair. There is a hairline crack to the outer layer of ply that can be seen where each armrests flows into the base of the chair, this is a common issue with these chairs. This area has been checked by a leading antique restorer and we are happy with the structural integrity of the chair.

Overall this chair presents well, is in good vintage condition and is a fine example of the work of a groundbreaking New Zealand designer.

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