Thursday, June 30, 2011

Douglas Snelling

Over the past five years I have been battling an addiction. Yes readers I have succumbed to the boomerang-like charms of the Snelling chair. I should actually correct myself and say 'chairs' as I have three profiles ranging from the simple dining, a covetable armchair, and finally the languorous lounge piece shown in the photo above. Douglas Snelling (1917 - 1985) is another Australian designer with a remarkable and indeed tangible legacy. His pieces sit proudly in the Powerhouse Museum Collection and are regularly featured throughout editorial stories in interiors publications. His unique spin on re-using parachute webbing at the end of the Second World War pre-empted industrial recycling. 

I have restored and re-webbed many of his chairs in a diverse range of  hues. They hunker down nicely in any setting involving 1950's style furniture or graphic fabric prints. To me they always have a 'welcome home' appeal.  The way the fabric molds itself to you belies it's simple wooden substructure. One word of warning to those considering putting one in a sunny corner of your home. I have another chair identical to the one shown above which resided in my Sydney store for some four months. The webbing went from a rich red to peach after a daily dose of sunshine. I have a set that I'm re-webbing for my dinner table in the spring. I'll show my progress with this DIY adventure as it gets underway. I may even share some tips from my sensational upholsterer!

Image : Brian Tunks


  1. I too love these stylish chairs - I have had two for 15 years, both in need of re-webbing. I gave up trying to find the material to do the job - any suggestions as to where I can get the webbing and tips and/or pitfalls would be most appreciated.

  2. Hi Pep...sorry for the delay in replying. I would absolutely go to Azzopardi and Hancock. 7 Lyell Street
    Fyshwick ACT 2609
    (02) 6239 1471
    They have a great range of webbing and they do a superb job.


  3. Hi, I adore these chairs and live in Wollongong. Any chance you take commissions?

  4. Sorry Canopenergirl...I have purchased my huge number of chairs to get re-webbed for a photoshoot and then use for my dining table and in my stores. I'd suggest Ebay as they often have the odd one or two chairs come up. Otherwise just be patient and trawl the web under Snelling chairs. I'll let you know if I see something..