First solo outing for Modernist furniture designer

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George Kóródy’s work at Nishi Gallery. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Craft / “Designed not Decorated: works by George Kóródy” at Nishi Gallery, Acton, until September 30. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

GEORGE Kóródy came to Sydney in 1940, to organise an exhibition for the Hungarian Society of Applied Arts. Due to the war in Europe the exhibition did not go ahead and he remained in Sydney.

He brought an impressive portfolio, having designed several high-profile projects and interiors in Budapest. He was an architect, and a textile and furniture designer.

He became a partner in Artes Studio (later Studios) in Sydney and was the lead furniture designer.

Kóródy shared Canberra modernist furniture designer Fred Ward’s principles regarding furniture: functional and practical, visible construction details, and the use of Australian timbers. Both eschewed dark staining and furniture “[with] … meaningless ornamentation”.

This exhibition shows examples from several of the series of works he designed for sale in Artes Studios. They are being exhibited with wall hangings and rugs of the period, plus several Japanese ikebana pots and a conical garden pot.

The highlight of the exhibition is a Swivel desk from the “Versa” range, c 1953. The lines are simple, with several practical elements. It is in a pale Australian timber – perhaps coachwood, used by both Kóródy and Ward, a shelf at one end, a swivelling shelf at the other, and a drawer unit with both one deep and one shallow drawer. Paired with a cane carver dining chair form the Modern Unit range, c 1947, a printed fabric wall hanging with added tufted wool hangs behind the pieces. Legs are angled, adding dynamism to the pieces.

Kóródy  used black vitrolite glass in simple tables, adding gloss and mystery to the sleek forms.

This is the first solo exhibition of Kóródy’s work, and complements those which have been held recently in Canberra exhibiting work by Fred Ward and Derek Wrigley.

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