Paul Kafka (1907 – 1972) Art Deco Sideboard

Paul Kafka (1907 – 1972) Art Deco Sideboard


Paul Kafka is one of the most significant furniture makers to have worked in Sydney in the immediate post-war period. Born in Vienna in 1907, the son of a Viennese furniture maker, he worked in his father's factory and later studied furniture design and interior decoration at the Academy of Arts in Vienna. In 1939 Kafka and his wife emigrated to Australia and established a furniture making factory, first in Elizabeth Street, Sydney and by the late 1940s larger premises in Botany Road, Waterloo. Here he employed designers and 20-30 tradesmen producing custom-built furniture principally for eastern suburbs clients. In the 1960s he turned more to producing specialised furniture for hotels and motels. Kafka died in Sydney on 15 May 1972.

At a time when Australia was just emerging from its post-war isolation Kafka produced stylish, well-made furniture for a discerning clientele composed mostly of European immigrants living in the eastern suburbs. Kafka's training and early practice in Vienna during the 1920s and 30s is reflected in the references to the art deco style that continued to inform his work during the 1950s. This is particularly evident in his characterstic use of strongly-striped veneers and geometric detailing, albeit with a contemporary interpretation. Kafka's practice included the design of individual pieces for clients as well as built-in fittings and complet

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