Garnet Campbell “Garth” Chester

Garnet Campbell “Garth” Chester (1916 – 16 June 1968), was a New Zealand furniture designer.

He established the furniture firm, originals in Penrose, Auckland, and later set up a showroom in Mercury Lane in Auckland.

Several of his designs became highly popular, including the Astoria Chair, the Bikini chair and the Curvesse chair, the latter “an undisputed icon of New Zealand design,” according to Douglas Lloyd Jenkins.

His work is held in the collections of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

In the early 50’s, cheaper imitations of his more famous designs starting popping up around New Zealand.
In 1954, Garth lost close to everything when a suspicious fire burnt down his small factory. He dusted himself off and continued on, embracing a new medium bent steel rod.
His famous three-legged Bikini Chair was created in the late 1950’s. Inspired by its namesake, the Bikini chair proved a perfect perch for the cool little espresso bars that were opening all around Auckland city. The chairs could be matched with Garth’s triangular Bikini table or more traditional rectangular dining table.


Over his life, Garth experimented with many different materials and different products beyond just furniture, and in his spare time even constructed sets for the local theatre’s productions. 
Relatively unsung in his day, Garth Chester works are today considered incredible icons of New Zealand design.


He died in 1968, aged 52.


The Bikini Chair. In 1955 Garth Chester, an experimental and self-taught furniture designer, launched a new design – a three-legged chair which he named the Bikini Chair.

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