Cafe Australia Chair

Australia’s rarest chair? This Cafe Australia chair is now one of three known to exist. One is held by the NGV
another by the Powerhouse Museum. The chair, in solid Blackwood, was produced in the workshop
of H.Goldman. It was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony who were commissioned
to design the furnishings for Cafe Australia in 1916.

Excerpt from the Powerhouse Museum Sydney

“It was thought that all the Café Australia furniture had been destroyed until the discovery of this incomplete
chair and an example of one of the rectangular topped tables used in the Café’s ‘banquet room’ (they are now
both thought to be the last surviving examples of the Café’s furniture). As such, the chair, though incomplete,
is an extremely important legacy of both the Café’s extraordinary, now demolished interiors, as well as Griffin
and Mahony’s highly significant body of designs for furniture produced during their busy careers.”

The chair is in excellent condition, surprisingly excellent original order considering it was used in the Café for over a
decade. It is however altered from the original design. In 1920 the Café commissioned Goldman to lower the back
and add the arms. Griffin and Mahony may have designed the alteration but this is yet to be determined. The Chair
at the the NGV is the original 1916 design, the chair at the Powerhouse is an incomplete chair with the back
shortened and arms not yet added. This chair is the only known, complete example of the Cafe Australia chair
post the 1920 alterations.

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