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Willy Guhl

Swiss, 1915-2004

Decades prior to the mass popularity of neo-industrial cement floors and furniture taking shape, there was Willy Guhl. The Swiss creative is considered one of the first “industrial” designers in his home country. He pioneered a rugged, organic style of modern furniture and decor — stylish planters, shapely seating and lots more — that remains widely coveted by many today.

Guhl was born in 1915 in Stein am Rhein and worked as a carpenter before beginning studies at the Zurich School of Applied Arts (known today as the Zurich University of the Arts), where he would go on to teach for nearly 40 years.

While Guhl is well-known for his range of provocative garden elements as well as his patio and outdoor furniture, today’s legion of mid-century modern enthusiasts are likely familiar with the designer’s iconic Loop chair (introduced in 1954). For this sculptural seat and other furnishings, Guhl tended toward industrial materials, which he bent and shaped into organic forms for a striking juxtaposition. Much of his work is crafted from either concrete or Eternit, a mixture of cement and asbestos developed by the Belgian company Etex, which, in the 1950s, commissioned Guhl and his students at the School of Applied Arts to conceive planters in the material. The resulting vessels — some hourglass-shaped, some in the form of handkerchiefs, all suitable for indoors or exteriors — remain some of Guhl’s most collectible pieces.

Guhl’s affiliation with the Swiss “neo-functional” movement centered on the idea of simplifying design without sacrificing form. According to Guhl, his mission was “achieving the most with the minimum of effort.”

In addition to his work as a designer, Guhl left his mark on subsequent creatives through his 39-year tenure at his alma mater, where he was instructor to the likes of Robert Haussmann, Kurt Thut and Bruno Rey. Modern-day shoppers at IKEA owe Guhl a debt of gratitude too. He was an early advocate of flat-pack furniture, championing its ability to make good design more widely accessible.

At its core, though, Guhl’s work was inherently human-centric: “At the center of my efforts, I put people and their living requirements,” he once said. “My products must be useful to people.” Guhl died in 2004 at the age of 89.

Find a range of vintage Willy Guhl furniture and decorative objects on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$3,172
Styles
Materials
Related Creators
Iconic Designs from Willy Guhl
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Spindel Planter
Spindel Planter
Willy Guhl Loop
Willy Guhl Loop
Willy Guhl Diabolo Planters
By Willy Guhl
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Willy Guhl Diabolo Planters, fiber-reinforced concrete. Switzerland, 1960s. Each item is $2500. Only two planters available.
Category

Mid-20th Century Swiss Mid-Century Modern Willy Guhl

Materials

Concrete

  • Willy Guhl Diabolo Planters
  • Willy Guhl Diabolo Planters
  • Willy Guhl Diabolo Planters
  • Willy Guhl Diabolo Planters
H 25.5 in Dm 14 in
Vintage Marmite Planter by Willy Guhl for Eternit
By Willy Guhl
Located in AIGNAN, FR
"Marmite" planter designed by Willy Guhl for Eternit editions in the 1960s. Planter iconic by its design and the avant-garde of its conceptio...
Category

Mid-20th Century Swiss Willy Guhl

Materials

Cement

Dog House by Willy Guhl for Eternit, Switzerland, 1960s
By Willy Guhl
Located in Antwerp, BE
Minimalism; Brutalist Dog House; Willy Guhl; 1960s; Switzerland; Eternit AG; Shelter; Outdoor Furniture; Concrete; Cement; Cellulose; Dog house by Willy Guhl for Eternit Switzerland...
Category

1960s Swiss Brutalist Vintage Willy Guhl

Materials

Concrete, Cement

Willy Guhl, Concrete Spindle Planter, Eternit, 1960s
By Eternit, Willy Guhl
Located in Berlin, DE
Willy Guhl, spindle planter, manufactured by Eternit in the 1960s. Very nice patina, rare lower model with larger diameter!
Category

1960s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Vintage Willy Guhl

Materials

Concrete

Willy Guhl Concrete Vase, 1960s Switzerland
By Eternit, Willy Guhl
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Fantastic concrete vase by Swiss architect Willy Guhl for Eternit. Great tabletop vase or planter in a unique weathered hand painted patina. Very unusual shape. Great indoors or outs...
Category

1960s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Vintage Willy Guhl

Materials

Concrete

Willy Guhl Concrete 4 Tier Fountain, 1960s Switzerland
By Willy Guhl
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Extremely rare concrete fountain by Willy Guhl for Eternit. Fabricated out of 8 pieces of fiber cement. Hand made in Switzerland, 1960s. Only such fountain available for sale.. Great...
Category

1960s Swiss Vintage Willy Guhl

Materials

Concrete

Square Planter by Willy Guhl, Switzerland 1950s
By Eternit, Willy Guhl
Located in Nürnberg, Bayern
Very nice patina. We have a total of six of the same type and many other models by Willy Guhl. Swiss designer Willy Guhl (1915-2004) was well known for his weather resistant plante...
Category

1950s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Vintage Willy Guhl

Materials

Cement

Architectural Planter Midcentury Willy Guhl Eternit Plant Pot, 1950s
By Eternit, Willy Guhl
Located in Mannheim, DE
1950s planter designed by Swiss architects Willy Guhl and Anton Bee in 1951. It is the biggest version of the so called "Spindel" and perfect for terraces or gardens. It is made of s...
Category

1950s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Vintage Willy Guhl

Materials

Concrete

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Creators Similar to Willy Guhl

More Willy Guhl Designs
Spindel Planter
Spindel Planter
Average Price
$2,359
Number Available
28
Spindel Planter
By Willy Guhl
Materials
Stone, Cast Stone, Concrete, Cement
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Willy Guhl Loop
Willy Guhl Loop
Average Price
$11,915
Number Available
14
Willy Guhl Loop
By Willy Guhl
Materials
Cast Stone, Stone, Cement
Styles
Mid Century Modern
Shop All

Willy Guhl furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Willy Guhl furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of stone and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Willy Guhl furniture, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 465 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 5 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Willy Guhl were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Eternit, Anton Bee, and Ludwig Walser. Prices for Willy Guhl furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $425 and can go as high as $145,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $2,800.

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