Karl Springer was one of the greatest contemporary furniture stylists of the 20th century. His unique blending of sophistication and crudeness made his work the most imitated during the 1970's and 1980's. One can still sense his influence in the contemporary furniture now being produced.
Karl was born in 1931 in Berlin. After the war, he immigrated to New York and became the top window dresser at Lord & Taylor Department Store. His juxtaposition of pure forms and exotic finishes made his work instantly recognizable. His designs were at once both restrained and vivid. His inspirations were Jean-Michele Frank and Tommy Parzinger.
With the support of his good friend, he created his own line of desk accessories and small furniture and began selling it through Henri Bendel's. It was an instant success and he quickly opened a small atelier on East 52nd Street on the emerging "Boutique Row." Designers flocked to his shop and were charmed by his personality and his work. He soon started taking commissions for larger and more important pieces. He developed a network of Artisans with incredible skill in exotic finishes. He always demanded the highest quality of materials and workmanship.
It was at this point that he met Mark Eckman, a young industrial designer specializing in Lucite furniture and accessories. They immediately began collaborating, first on Lucite forms and later on metal, goatskin parchment and exotic wood veneers. Karl brought in his brother Joachim and the business expanded rapidly as news of his extraordinary furniture spread through the design community.
By the mid 1980's Mark had joined the company full time and the showroom relocated to a 20,000 square foot penthouse on East 61st Street. The exclusive line was represented in the finest showrooms in Chicago, Los Angeles, Texas, Florida, Germany and Japan.
Karl passed away in mid 1991, leaving an incredible design legacy. He was honored with a one man show at New York School of Interior Design in 1994. His original pieces are in great demand through many better 20th century antiques dealers today.
Matthews & Parker Ltd. accepts repair and restoration projects on all authentic Springer pieces. Please contact us (with photos if possible) to discuss the project. We offer authentication and appraisal service as well.