A Short But Fascinating History Of The Humble Bow Chair

bow chairAs we have a whole host of exciting new arrivals on our Cafe Furniture Melbourne site, I’m going to focus on one in particular –  the Bow Chair. It has its origins rooted in the early part of the nineteenth century and has had quite a fascinating history so without further ado, let’s take a closer look.

Originally the Bow Chair started off life with the non-PC name of the ‘Smoker’s Bow Chair’ where originally, it wasn’t designed for grandeur like many chairs of the time, but instead was designed for practicality and comfort.

The original Smoker’s Bow Chair was a simple chunkier version of the Windsor Chair which first appeared in the 1820’s. Although it lacked the high back found on any Windsor Chair of the time, it maintained a heavier, sturdier appearance. The main feature was a hoop or bow which was fashioned from steamed wood. This was then curved to make both the back support and arms. The chair also consisted of a wide seat, supported by 4 splayed, spindle legs. In its original form it was found in many country kitchens of the day as well as in many inns and public houses throughout the UK. So why call it the Smoker’s Bow Chair?

Because the sweeping armrests were the perfect height to support the arm when smoking a pipe.

Going upmarket

By the 1850’s, upmarket versions of the Bow Chair were being produced using materials like oak, mahogany, or walnut rather than cheap country woods. Instead of a plain wood seating and back it now became reinforced with horsehair for added comfort and then covered with leather or velvet for that sumptuous, luxurious feel.

As well as being seen in many Victorian drawing rooms of the day, this gentrified version of the Smokers Bow Chair also started to make an appearance in the many Gentleman’s clubs located in and around the city of London. Here the industrialists and high-rollers of the time would sit back and talk business while partaking in a Cuban cigar and a glass of fine brandy or whisky.

Into the 21st Century

While it’s not particularly PC or cool these days to use the word ‘smoking‘ in relation to a chair, the fact of the matter remains that the Bow Chair is both extremely practical and incredibly comfortable. It comes as no surprise therefore that modern versions of the Bow Chair can now be found in homes and commercial premises across the world.

At Cafe Furniture Melbourne our Bow Chairs are fashioned from light ash and vinyl to give a modern, fresh, but equally sumptuous feel, so why not log on and take a closer look.

Alternatively if you’re in the Campbellfield area of Melbourne, then you can always pop along to our showroom where you can see a variety of commercial-grade cafe chairs first hand. In addition if you’d like any more information about the Bow Chair or any other cafe chairs in our collection then contact our experienced team on 03 9357 9688 who will be more than happy to assist.

Wow Your Clientèle With Werzalit Cafe Tables

Werzalit table in Shesman timberLet’s face it, with stiff competition café’s need to do more and more to stand out from the crowd and entice customers through their doors. While upgrading your cafe furniture and changing your décor is one way of doing this, it can be expensive and can also be a bit of a gamble. However choose your cafe furniture well and you could find yourself being frequented by a whole host of new customers which will in turn boost your business growth. The question is, what type of cafe furniture is best?

In essence you need something that looks stylish but doesn’t have the expensive price tag, is classy but practical, and is flexible enough to fit in with a wide variety of decors and designs. For these reasons you really should consider Werzalit cafe tables.

Create a great first impression

Café’s need to create a great first impression and Werzalit cafe tables do exactly this. Just imagine rows of attractive Shesman timber Werzalit tables on an outside terrace catching the glint of the sun. Pair them with aluminium and beech wood chairs for that stylish summer look or how about combining them with some sleek black tub chairs and some strategically placed pots for an upmarket Mediterranean Riviera feel?

Alternatively a very popular theme right now is contemporary industrial and any of the Werzalit tables with their stainless steel bases lend themselves very well to this theme. They look perfect when set against a backdrop of exposed brickwork and copper piping and would work well paired with replica Tolix chairs in gun-metal grey or a galvanised steel finish.

Aside from being sleek and stylish, the Werzalit cafe table doesn’t shirk its practical duties either. It’s designed to withstand heat and harsh weather conditions and is UV resistant, so it’s perfect for both inside and outdoor use. It won’t warp, rust, or crack, and modern day versions are designed to be easily stackable.

Werzalit cafe tables come in both square and round styles and in a variety of sizes so you can mix and match tables to suit your space. What’s more you can also purchase them in table top format, (which is a great money-saving way of revamping your furniture)as an alternative option to buying the whole table. They’re lightweight yet durable enough to withstand the rigours of a busy establishment and if cared for properly, they stay looking like new year after year.

Here at Cafe Furniture Melbourne we have a wide range of Werzalit tables and table tops for you to browse and buy. Simply fire up your computer or laptop and check out our stock. Alternatively, if you’re in the Campbellfield area of Melbourne, then why not take a look at what we have to offer first by popping into our showroom. We have experienced staff on hand to assist with your needs and if you need to ask a question in the meantime you cam always call us direct on 03 9257 9688.

It’s All About The Cabaret – The No. 18 Bentwood Chair

cab-ye-2When you think of the cabaret chair you might picture a certain Liza Minelli dancing around one in her famous ‘Mein Herr’ routine. The film was set in a seedy Berlin Club in around 1931, but why was she dancing around this particular chair? Quite simply because it was arguably the most popular chair around. In fact it has been since around 1870 when Michael Thonet produced it in his factory.

The No. 18 bentwood chair as it is known was very cheap to produce. Consisting of just six pieces of wood which were bent and held in place with a hardened resin, it was also quick to make. As a result thousands were produced. It wasn’t before long that the cabaret chair started to grace the café’s and bars of Vienna and from there spread to Paris and the rest of the world.

Because they were cheap to produce they were also affordable for most cafe owners. This meant that for many years right through to the 1960’s and 70’s when designers turned their backs on simplicity in favour of more radical designs, the Cabaret chair was the cafe chair of choice and ruled supreme. In fact it had become a bit of a design icon because aside from it’s sinuous curves and elegant slender legs, it was a practical choice too. It was light and therefore easy to pick-up and move around and despite the fact that it was made from steamed wood that had been bent unnaturally into shape, it was also surprisingly robust.

The Cabaret Comeback

For 30 years or so, the Bentwood chair fell out of favour but at the turn of the 21st century a demand for all things retro, became the resurrection of this simplistic beauty. Suddenly cafe owners and home owners alike were clamouring to buy the Bentwood chair, and guess what? Demand pushed up the price. Nowadays if you want to by an original Michael Thonet Cabaret Chair you’ll be paying upwards of $200 or more for a new one. Clearly for larger venues looking to buy say 50 or 60, unless owners have a bottomless pit of cash to spend. it probably isn’t a feasible option. So what do you do?

The good news is that you can now buy replica cabaret chairs or chairs that are inspired by the original design. Here at Cafe Furniture Melbourne for example we stock our own version of this famous chair, but instead of being made from beech wood it’s made using tubular steel. At a little over $69.00 it’s affordable, practical, and long lasting. What’s more it come in a wide variety of bright colours to fit in with any décor.

If you’d like your very own slice of iconic retro to grace your cafe, then take a look at our Bentwood No. 18 steel cabaret chairs. For further information, contact us on 03 9357 9688 and talk to our experienced team who will assist.

Why Buy The Real Thing When You Can Have Replica/Inspired Cafe Furniture?

ben-wa-01When it comes to cafe furniture there are some pretty well-known names around. Tolix, Thonet, Pierre Paulin to name but a few but one thing’s for sure, they don’t come cheap. Up until the last decade of so, if you couldn’t afford to pay designer prices, then you were left with what is on the face of it a piece of plain boring furniture that was about as exciting as watching paint dry. Thankfully nowadays we have replica cafe furniture. But what are the advantages?

Replica means that stylish cafe furniture is now affordable

In 2016 there is a wide variety of commercial grade cafe furniture that’s been made ‘in the style of’ some of the most iconic pieces of cafe furniture on the planet. Therefore any cafe, bistro, or restaurant that doesn’t want to pay designer prices, can still buy replica or made-in-the-style-of cafe chairs and tables that look the part. No longer do venue owners have to accept drab. Instead they can buy Tolix inspired bar stools, Bentwood inspired chairs and Pierre Paulin inspired ribbon chairs that can and do turn heads.

Replica or inspired furniture is longer lasting

Even though cafe chairs such as the original Tolix bar stool, graced café’s as far apart as Paris and Istanbul they probably wouldn’t fair very well when it comes to modern commercial testing. Modern cafe furniture has been tested to within an inch of its life and as such is stronger, more durable, and ultimately longer lasting than its more expensive counterparts. This means that they’re ideal for a busy cafe with an ever-circulating stream of customers.

Replica furniture is more practical

Inevitably when it comes to furnishing your venue, despite the styling, colour and materials of your furniture, it all boils down to practicalities. What good is an authentic Pierre Paulin ribbon chair for example if you can’t stack it, or it is too heavy to move, or scratches your floor? Conversely replica cafe furniture is often treated to make it resistant to stains and heat; cleaning it usually consists of a simple wipe down with a damp cloth; and they’re designed to be stacked, so storage is a breeze too. In fact replica or inspired furniture is way more practical period!

To find out more about designer inspired cafe furniture why not take a look at our Cafe Furniture Melbourne website. We stock a wide range of commercial-grade cafe furniture, all at great value-for-money prices. So take a closer look and get inspired.