SOLD! Regularly click into our NEWLY LISTED Category or follow us at- instagram.com/invisedge
All 4 pieces in this suite (the TWO 2-seater sofas and PAIR of matching armchairs) SOLD for $4000 (Feb. 2021). The first 5 photos are from a suite we sold earlier this year. The listing price here is for ONE 2-SEATER SOFA only (139 cm across). The full suite that SOLD here is shown in the final photos (taken inside our vendor’s home). We have sold Sling pieces for significantly more than the prices set for this suite.) Now SOLD!
All pieces are in excellent condition with no condition issues that warrant a mention.
This suite SOLD UNDER CONSIGNMENT from a private seller in Surrey Hills, Melbourne (near Camberwell).
Background Info and Provenance
A 2-SEATER Tessa Sling lounge sofa in original condition and in top-quality vintage FULL-GRAIN leather. (A SECOND 2-SEATER SOFA AND PAIR OF ARMCHAIRS ARE AVAILABLE SEPARATELY.) This is the rarest design ever done by Tessa. The Tessa T4s, T8s and T21s are regularly seen as well as some of the newer designs but this design done in 1981 is elusive. I tried to do some additional research on the Sling design but there’s no information available. These are certainly Tessa originals- the cushions have original Tessa factory labels used in the late-1970’s into the early 80’s. The early 80’s was a turbulent time for furniture manufacturers- cheap overseas imports were entering the market and it’s my belief that in 1981 this design couldn’t compete in price with other furniture being sold. Very few were released and it would have been because of the high cost of manufacture. Creating curves in solid timber is not easy but creating a curve that runs from the top of the chair to the bottom of the armrest is harder. This type of furniture is rarely seen because (price-wise) it can’t compete with what else is out there.
The big advantage of this is the quality of what’s on offer. These are solid, heavy pieces- they’ve been built to last and already have (for 40 years). As much as I like the look of the award-winning T4 design, the quality and comfort is not as good- the netting is problematic (it stretches and sags over time and replacing it is not easy- because it’s a net!). The frame on the T4 is also laminated timber. This means the timber veneer on the top surface (particularly the edges) can lift, bubble and chip off etc. The design on offer here is SOLID timber- it’s basically indestructible and with normal use will last well after you and I are gone.
Another pointer of the quality is the use of FULL-GRAIN leather. Tessa began using cheaper leathers in the 1990’s (to try to compete with cheap Chinese imports). If the Tessa label specifies TOP-GRAIN leather on it, it’s the modern shitty leather- don’t be fooled! Top-GRAIN leather is NOT Top-Grade leather but the top-layer of the leather only- two layers of the underside have been split off (to make those really “scary” leathers). The Top-Grain that’s left is usually heavily processed, thin, thickly painted (to “pad” it out) and susceptible to cracking through, rips and splits, especially at the seams. TOP-GRAIN leathers will usually last for about 10-15 years of use (depending on how the furniture is used and how the leather is looked after). The FULL-GRAIN leather on this suite is about 40 years old and has had solid use but the quality of this leather has meant the suite is ready for another owner. The leather on this piece shows a few very minor signs of use- but NO cracks in the leather, NO holes, NO splits, NOTHING of any concern. If you want to use your suite, FULL-GRAIN leather is the only way to go (but it’s getting hard to get full-grain leather anymore- it’s expensive and rarely used in furniture anymore.)
One last pointer of the quality of the Sling design is the use of FULL-GRAIN leather to cover the back as well. In virtually all other Tessa furniture canvas is used which fades, marks, frays and stains (canvas backs can also rip too). Leather is the better option (and a lot more costly to produce).
This design is also comfortable- it mixes sitting comfort (good support, great angles) with lounge chair comfort (high back and softness).
Fred Lowen’s designs are award-winning. He achieved much respect in the 1950’s (various Lowen designs are held in museums throughout Australia including the Powerhouse Museum) but it’s his designs from the 1970’s that won the most acclaim. I believe this design done in 1981 is his best (it’s certainly there with the SC55 from the 1950’s and the T5 from the mid-1970’s). I love the sweeping lines like a flowing ribbon (but in SOLID timber!). It has the quality of the everlasting T21 design but not the bulky look and it’s MUCH rarer than the T21 (T21’s were in production almost 50 years).
To top it off the Tessa T21 2-seater sofas were selling NEW for around $4800 EACH if you can find any new T21’s anymore- Tessa went out of business late in 2019 after a 50-year stint in the Australian marketplace. They tried to compete with cheap Chinese imports but it’s impossible to- how the Australian government doesn’t do something about this is beyond me- Chinese workers in sweatshops can be paid as little as several dollars an hour- workers over there have little regulation. The T21 sofas sell for $4800 new but I rate this design higher than T21 sofas. This is an outstanding investment that should at least hold its value over the years as you get to enjoy it- you’ll never get that buying new.
The advantage of investing in vintage furniture is simple- when a suite looks like this after 40 years years of use you have irrefutable proof of the quality you’re buying (before you shell out a cent). There’s no better way I can think of to invest in your home and reduce landfill.
Around 1805, 2004 and 2012