Australian designer Grant Featherston (1922-1995) is considered one of Australia’s best known designers and his furniture has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance over the last decade as mid-century design aficionados have turned the spotlight on his distinctive and sculptural Contour Range from the mid-1950s. Featherston and his wife Mary formed a design partnership in 1966 and went on to win many Good Design Awards.
The Contour series originated in the early 1950s when Featherston dreamed of making a chair that would be a ‘negative’ of the human body to create the concept of ‘contour comfort.’ Prohibited by cost Featherston curved and joined plywood together to make a strong and form-fitting shell for the chair. He added tapering legs and thin upholstery to create the elegant chair we know today. Featherston patented his first Contour chair – the R152 – in 1951.
Progressive architects applauded the chair for its innovative design and modernist aesthetic and frequently displayed it in their modernist suburban houses. Featherston followed up on the success of the R52 with an array of sculptural and colourful variations. In total, the Contour range incorporated more than 25 chairs and settees along with occasional tables, dining tables, and storage furniture.