Pair of “Safari” chairs, Maurice Burke for Arkana (Bath, England)

Circa 1970

1.600

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Nice pair of chairs known as the “Safari” model by the Canadian designer Maurice Burke (1921-2013) for the English furniture company Arkana. Cognac leather and tekwood. Very comfortable, this pair will add character to your living room.
Size: H 71 cm x W 61 cm X D 70 cm

English work of circa 1970.

Lit: Maurice was born Maurice Bourque on November 21st, 1921, in Springside Saskatchewan. Coming from a French-Canadian family that traced its roots back to the early Acadian settlements of the Maritimes, he was the sole survivor of five sons, along with a single sister, Cecile. His father ran the local General Store, but as the 30’s arrived, the Depression brought much of the community to bankruptcy alongside the Bourque’s family business. The family relocated to Montreal Quebec, and Maurice secured a stable position working as a personal secretary for the President of the Canadian National Railway. However, when Canada joined the British Empire’s war on Germany in 1939, he joined the Canadian Army and shipped off early to Britain. There he would join the nascent Canadian Tank Corps, becoming an early tank commander. But a serious injury during training led to him leaving the Tank Corps. Maurice had attained the rank of Major, and was ready to return to the Americas to start a new adventure in a very different field. Maurice returned to Canada briefly in 1946 with his newly married wife, Felicity. However, shortly after she gave birth to their first son Duncan in Toronto the next year, Maurice became fascinated with the world of furniture production and design. Finding relatively few options in Canada, the family relocated stateside to Los Angeles, California, where Maurice joined the Hermann Miller as a salesman in 1950. Working alongside early mid-century designers including Harry Bertoia and Ray Eames soon inspired Maurice to try his own venture under the name Felmore, with a store in Pacific Palisades. in 1959 he was ready to premiere his next company: Burke Inc. By the 1960’s, Burke Inc. had showrooms in every major American city. But Maurice was an entrepreneur first and foremost, and something about the pressures of success of Burke Inc and it’s intensifying demands on his time prompted him to sell the company in 1963 to Brunswick. After the sale of Burke Inc., Maurice quickly moved to set up a new business in the United Kingdom, in part due to its incentives for new businesses in the north. Arkana would open the same year as the family relocated in 1963, but by 1965 Maurice was out of the day-to-day running of the company in favor of focusing on design. (fragments of the biography of the designer on the website: www.arkanaarchive.com )

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