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silla was born out of a passion for beautiful objects: special pieces with aesthetic and historical significance. In 2009, after years of collecting, Andrew Silla and his wife Grace began to work privately with clients from their residence in Southern Maryland. Quickly outgrowing the space, the business was moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2012 and after several warehouse location changes it was firmly settled in the present brick-and-mortar location in downtown Shippensburg.

The 9000 square foot brick-and-mortar gallery is home to a large collection of works of art and estate jewelry. We specialize in sculpture circa 1860 through 1930 with a particular emphasis on the Animaliers and as such the gallery always has a very large collection of exceptional European and American sculpture available on display.

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"Safari" Chair in Leather and Oak | Wilhelm Kienzle

Kienzle, Wilhelm

Regular Price: $2,900.00
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catalog text

Designed by Wilhelm Kienzle in 1928, manufactured by Wohnbedarf, Switzerland circa 1950
Item # 405ZPF07Q-3

Designed in 1928 by Wilhelm Kienzle, the "Safari" chair stands as a stunning and iconic piece. An example is held in the permanent collection of the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Executed by Wohnbedarf of Zurich, Switzerland in the 1950s, the chair is made from solid oak and featuring thick-cut rawhide leather sling seating. The leather showcases a captivating patina, marked by stains and oils accumulated over years of use. With its original and untouched condition, this chair represents a remarkable blend of clever design, exceptional craftsmanship, and remarkable comfort and support.

In writing about the chair in the Vitra Design Museum, Claude Lichtenstein notes:

"This dismountable chair was created by the Swiss designer Wilhelm Kienzle. It is an adaptation of a model used in the nineteenth century by British colonial officials during their work-related travels, which Kienzle had seen in London in 1928. Its advantages are that it is lightweight and takes up little space. The chair’s legs are connected by round bars, which are inserted into the open seam of the seat cover (in copies with the original cover). Similarly, the cover is affixed to the movable backrest, which is attached to the upper ends of the back legs with a pivot pin. The leather strap armrests are fastened to the legs with brass buttons. Since the chair’s frame is not independently stable, leather straps stretched between the chair legs bear the lateral load of the seated individual.

In the interwar period, others – such as the Danish designer Kaare Klint in 1933 – created variants of this chair type. Kienzle’s design most likely was not mass-produced until after 1945 by the Swiss interior design company Wohnbedarf. In the post-war period it became the very embodiment of a non-conformist lifestyle."

We have several examples of this model in leather and oak by Wilhelm Kienzle in the shop - if you are looking for a pair to this, just browse our inventory or let us know and we can check current stock for you. Specifically, item #405ZPF07Q-1 is an almost perfect match for it if still available.

Shipping Note: This chair will be shipped entirely disassembled in order to keep shipping costs to a minimum and reassembly will be required once it arrives.

Measurements: 35 3/8" H x 22 1/4" D x 22 1/4" W x 14 1/2" H to seat

Condition Report:
The original leather stained and discolored with a wonderful overall patina, remarkably comfortable and most enjoyable to sit in; darkening and overall oxidization along with light wear to the oak surface; some minor white marks (likely from rubbing the wall) that can be removed upon request; rubbing and wear to the leather inside the back where the wing nuts attach; the horizontal front bar under the leather is fresher than the rest of the chair, suggesting it might be replaced; extensive dryness and cracking to the leather belting and arm straps, particularly the front strap which is almost cracked through - we can have this replaced upon request. A very fine example that is beautifully preserved with rich surface history.