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Gerald Summers Plywood Waste Paper Cylinder


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Design, Ethnographic & Ancient Art

Gerald Summers Plywood Waste Paper Cylinder

Just a great design!

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Gerald Summers Plywood Waste Paper Cylinder



Designed 1933 by Gerald Summers (1899-1967)

Made by 'Makers of Simple Furniture' (1931-1940)

This waste paper cylinder, as would be expected of Gerald Summers, is designed above all to be functional. However, due to it's large capacity it could have been heavy and therefore difficult to empty; this is not so. The sides are of a very thin aeroplane ply which curl round to form a broken circle; this is joined by a vertical heavier ply strip rising to a wide horizontal handle. To the inside of the rim is a narrow band of ply which is all that is required to ensure its sturdiness. The result is an extremely pleasing functional sculptural form.

Gerald Summers was certainly one of the most innovative designers in Britain in the 1930's and his significance is only now being appreciated as emphasis was previously placed upon the achievements of European and Scandinavian Modernist designers and because 'Makers of Simple Furniture' was a small company, producing mainly to order, without the publicity machine of larger workshops.

Museums & Exhibitions:

Victoria & Albert Museum: Summers work is now included in the new 20th Century Furniture Galleries which opened at the V & A in November, 2012

Museum of Modern Art, New York 2014 Exhibition: The Magic of Plywood

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Vitra Design Museum

The Geffrye, Museum of the Home, London

Thirties British Art and Design before the War organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain, London 1979

"Constructivism in Art & Design" Crafts Council Gallery, London 1988.


The Design History Journal 1992 Vol.5 No.3 - precis of Masters' thesis by Martha Deese, Metropolitan Museum New York

Gerald Summers: Furniture For the Concrete Age Dunn and Mantz pub. 2012

1000 Chairs Charlotte and Peter Fiell, Cologne 2000 p.232

Design for Today 1934

100 Masterpieces Vitra Design Museum

Furnishing the small Home published London and New York 1930's by the Studio Ltd.

A History of British Design 1839-1970 Fiona McCarthy pub. 1972

Bent Wood and Metal Furniture 1850-1946 University of Washington Press edited by Derek E. Ostergard


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