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2006 Media Releases - Corporate - Sydney Opera House successful in bid for Utzon-designed furniture

Issued Tuesday, 18 July 2006


Sydney Opera House is delighted to announce today that it was successful in its bid for a suite of Jørn Utzon-designed furniture, offered for sale through a Sydney auction house.

According to Sydney Opera House Chief Executive, Dr Norman Gillespie, this was a rare opportunity to buy a major piece of furniture designed by one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. The price paid was $12,000.

“This is an exciting moment – to have been successful in our attempt to collect such an important piece of 20th century furniture designed by the creator of Australia’s greatest building.”

“This furniture is part of our heritage, not just SOH but also the people of NSW,” he said.

Sydney Opera House’s bid was accepted over the week-end by the vendor, prior to auction. The House does not have any other furniture designed by its architect.

Jørn Utzon said today from Denmark that he had designed the furniture for Sydney Opera House whilst living here in the 1960s.

“The prototypes were made of wood which we used at home as our family furniture, even shipping them back to Denmark when we left Sydney “he said.

The furniture was only manufactured for a short period in the mid 1960s by Fritz Hanzen, the Danish design company. Constructed with aluminium legs and frame and wooden base support, the coverings are in the original thick brown wool. The suite is considered to be in excellent condition for its age.

The furniture style is described by Utzon as ‘New Angle’ - a design which he developed whilst living in Sydney, and an attempt by him to create a new shape for chair legs.

Sydney Opera House will take delivery of the furniture later this week.


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