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retrotempo | Retro Design Rover Car Chairs - retrotempo

Retro Design Rover Car Chairs

Retro Design Chair made from steel tube and rover chair

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I first came across Ron Arad retro design Rover car chairs in the reception area of a design agency called Wolff Olins. The year was 1988 and it was in fact, one of the altogether more rare, two seater sofa models. As you would expect in a world class design agency, the whole ambiance was refined.

High warehouse style ceilings complemented by an aesthetically pleasing curved glass front desk, chrome door frames and polished granite tiles. On the walls were framed multiple awards and impeccable art work. They had liberally sprinkled, giant sized designer flower arrangements, plus a highly manicured receptionist – as though from the set of the Robert Palmer “Addicted to Love”  video.   In spite of feeling totally intimidated by the flawless execution, I have to admit, it was one of the most comfortable seats that I have ever sat in.

The Original Retro Design Rover Chair

Retro Design Rover chair -sofa style

Two Seater Rover chair

The original Rover chair is probably more accurately described as “post modern” than a strictly retro design, but retro cycled is a term that is very apt. The seats are recycled  from a Rover P6 (also known as the Rover 2000). The original chairs cost only £10 to £15 from a scrap yard and the tubular framing that Arad used to fix the seats and provide arms and feet was also retro cycled and would have also cost around £15.  The Rover chairs originally sold for less the £100.  There have since been many imitations, most notably those that feature on the main guest set of the BBC Top Gear programme.  I understand these were copies put together at short notice by the talented BBC prop design crew.  If so, they did a very good job!    Many years later, original Arad Rover chairs sell for £5,000 plus.

There is more information about the designer on Wikipedia on this link: Ron Arad Industrial Designer

By Paul Bates (thepaulbates)

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