Amazing Uniflex bedroom suite designed by Gunther Hoffstead
We were really pleased to be offered a complete set of this rarely seen model by a family in Brighton who had owned it from new in 1961 . We’ve had the dressing table and stool before , and have seen the chest of drawers for sale on Ebay , but to get a complete set was worth the effort entailed in collecting it . Back in 1961 this was the cutting edge of modern British design and was well ahead of its time , and would have been bought by very few people as a result .
Uniflex was the brand name for the small firm of L Lazarus . Their designer c 1960 was the German born Gunther Hoffstead . There is very little known about him other than his work for Uniflex . He certainly designed all their best known pieces such as the Q Range , and his designs are totally unlike any others that were available in the UK at the time . For a design like this of circa 1960 still to look so modern and fresh today is a testament to his ability . Uniflex also used the talented Peter Hayward to design some of their ranges , but Gunther Hoffstead was their main designer . The only information we could find on him said that he was Danish , but in 2020 we managed to trace his daughter who proudly told us that Gunther is alive and well having recently celebrated his 99th Birthday ! He was born in 1921 and came to the UK in early 1939 . We were hoping to visit him , but the Covid virus intervened unfortunately .
As yet we don’t have anything beyond a small leaflet showing more standard Uniflex designs of the time , but the quality of manufacture is very good , so their pieces won’t have been cheap .
The melamine that was used at this time could have been by Formica or one of their lesser known competitors but it is far thicker and superior to anything today . After over 50 years of use the colour and finish is excellent . There is one small knock on the dressing table if you look closely , and 1 obvious chip to one of the wardrobe drawers ( plain white ) . We think the wood could be cherry or a similar wood , with possibly a maple interior . The chest on Ebay is wrongly described as teak ! Cherry isn’t a wood that was used much in the UK at any time , but around 1960 contemporary furniture manufacturers were trying all sorts of woods before they all seemed to settle on teak circa 1963 .
We would like to think that we could sell this to one person as it would be a shame to split up what is probably one of a handful around . A large bedroom suite was a big investment in 1961 , when most people would have spent their money on their dining set or living room . At the time traditional walnut or oak suites consisting of 2 wardrobes , a dressing table and headboards was the norm , chests of drawers and bedsides were luxuries . Traditional bedroom sets were made in vast quantities at this time , mostly cheap and cheerful , but some like the top quality Queen Anne style ones would have been more costly . Pieces of this standard weren’t cheap in 1961 .