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Karl Springer

American, German, 1931-1991

The Berlin-born, New York–based designer Karl Springer brought a chic, high-fashion sensibility to furnishings. During his heyday in the 1970s, Springer’s work was a favorite of the glamour set, who enjoyed the novelty of pieces finished in rich and striking materials that ranged from exotic hides and skins to lacquer and chromed metal. In a sense, Springer was a pre-postmodernist. Much as the dull, safe, corporate sameness of late 20th-century modernism prompted Ettore Sottsass, Michael Graves and others to explore new and provocative structures and materials in design and architecture, so, too, was Springer driven to enliven his creations with fresh and alluring energy and sleekness.

Springer came to New York in the late 1950s and found work arranging window displays at the department store Lord & Taylor. He had studied bookbinding in Germany, and, using his meticulous skills, he began crafting desk accessories wrapped in leather as a sideline. These pieces were sold in luxury stores like Bergdorf Goodman, and drew a sophisticated clientele that included the Duchess of Windsor. By 1965, he had established his own Manhattan atelier, and at his death he had showrooms as far afield as Los Angeles, Tokyo and Munich.

The chairs, tables, credenzas and other furniture forms Springer created are generally simple, but substantial, and often have robust, rounded lines. The appeal of his work lies in Springer's insistence on exacting construction and, above all, his eye for unusual materials and finishes. He employed Lucite, brass, and gunmetal along with chromed and polished steel, and revived exquisite finishes rarely seen since the days of Art Deco masters such as Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Jean-Michel Frank: shagreen (a type of sharkskin), python, goatskin, bone, horn, and lacquered parchment, as well as fabrics that include batik prints. Made of such materials, Springer’s work is by its very nature flamboyant and eye-catching: a suite of pieces will astonish, and an artfully placed side table in exotic hide will add a surprising spark.

Find a collection of vintage Karl Springer furniture today on 1stDibs.

Shagreen Desk by Karl Springer, Signed
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Shagreen desk by Karl Springer. Signed.
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer

Materials

Shagreen, Wood

  • Shagreen Desk by Karl Springer, Signed
  • Shagreen Desk by Karl Springer, Signed
  • Shagreen Desk by Karl Springer, Signed
  • Shagreen Desk by Karl Springer, Signed
H 29.25 in. W 54 in. D 27 in.
Karl Springer Polyhedron Goat Skin Tables
By Karl Springer
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Karl Springer design… Rare polyhedron tables covered in natural goat skin… 14 sides consisting of triangles and squares… Included in the photos is the original Maquet and mock up for...
Category

Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern Karl Springer

Materials

Goatskin, Wood

Karl Springer Pair of "Onassis Chairs" in Embossed Reptile Leather, 1970s
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Pair of "Onassis Chairs" in green embossed reptile leather with leather hand stitched seats by Karl Springer, American, 1970s. Newly upholstered seats in grey velvet by Lobel Modern....
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer

Materials

Wood, Leather, Velvet, Foam

Karl Springer Lucite Greek Key Bench Ottoman
By Karl Springer
Located in Miami, FL
A Lucite stool by Karl Springer. Signed on bottom edge. New boucle upholstery.
Category

1970s American Vintage Karl Springer

Materials

Bouclé, Lucite

Karl Springer Pair of JMF Chairs in Lacquered Goatskin, 1970s
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Pair of "JMF Chairs" in lacquered goatskin by Karl Springer, American, 1970s. These clean line chairs are beautifully made.
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer

Materials

Goatskin, Wood

Karl Springer Rare "Giacometti Style Table Lamp" 1980s 'signed'
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Rare "Giacometti” style table lamp in bronze and patinated copper by Karl Springer, American, 1980s (Karl Springer label on bottom). Measures: Shade Diam: 16 inches Shade H: 12 inches
Category

1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer

Materials

Bronze, Copper

Karl Springer Cocktail or Coffee Table in Gunmetal and Polished Steel, 1980s
By Karl Springer
Located in Ft Lauderdale, FL
Karl Springer cocktail or coffee table in gunmetal and polished steel 1980s In excellent, like-new condition, parsons style with smoked glass. Black oxide reflective finish with rare...
Category

1980s American Modern Vintage Karl Springer

Materials

Steel

Karl Springer Octagonal 1970s Beveled Glass Mirror
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Octagonal beveled glass mirror is mirrored three dimensionally, to reflect light from all sides, by designer Karl Springer, circa 1970.
Category

Late 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Karl Springer

Materials

Glass

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Karl Springer Sellers

Lobel Modern, Inc
5 / 5
Gary Rubinstein Antiques
5 / 5
Dragonette Ltd
5 / 5
Pilati Interior and Design
No Reviews Yet
Gustavo Olivieri 20th Century
5 / 5
Fat Chance Los Angeles
5 / 5

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Karl Springer furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Karl Springer furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of metal and designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our Karl Springer collection of furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular.. We have 476 vintage editions of these items in stock, while there are also 10 modern editions to choose from. Many original furniture by Karl Springer were created in North America during the 20th century in the modern style. Many customers also consider furniture by Mastercraft, Charles Hollis Jones and Paul Evans if you are looking for additional options. Prices for Karl Springer furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at US$795 and tops out at US$120,000, while pieces like these can sell for US$7,500 on average.