Enduring, Modern, Classic Furniture Continues to Be Cherished in the 21st Century
Mel Smilow (1922–2002) was an American furniture designer, manufacturer and retailer whose seating, case goods and lighting have been regarded as among the best modern furniture designs of the mid 20th century. The works were entirely crafted by hand (in America) of solid walnut, birch and oak. Known for clean lines and impeccable proportions, they were sold under the name Smilow-Thielle and offered through namesake retail stores, from the late 1940s through the 1970s. Vintage pieces made their ways into private and public collections throughout the world and continue to be featured in mid-century modern auctions.
In the spring of 2013, Smilow’s daughters / Smilow Design LLC relaunched two collections of Smilow Furniture using her father’s original drawings. Pieces from those first two collections, a walnut and hand woven rush and a loose cushioned rail-back collection, including lounge chairs, ottomans, dining chairs and bench, debuted at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City in 2013.
In January 2014 Smilow Furniture expands the collection to include the NEW WLC22 Woven Leather Lounge and WO22 Woven Leather Ottoman originally designed in 1956 and the Classic Pedestal Extension Table PDT48 designed in the late 1950’s.
Designer Judy Smilow recounts, “My father’s designs worked on the balance of simplicity and complexity. He would combine the fine detail of intricate joinery on a simple shape. Though his furniture was made for daily living, he designed with the intent of creating timeless modern designs that would endure. When I discovered the trove of his furniture, working drawings, photos, and sketches, his very consistent vision became clear, and we are pleased to follow that vision now with the same attention to detail and original intent, using sustainably sourced American hardwoods and fine American craftsmanship in these reissued pieces.”
After the relaunch of Smilow’s original furniture designs testimonials from past customers began pouring in attesting to the enduring qualities of the furniture and its design.
“My whole house is your father’s furniture. Living, bedroom, lamps and my favorite recliner. My husband and I purchased it when we first got married in 1961, It’s been recovered a few times, but the construction has survived three kids and numerous dogs over the past 53 years. I could have traded it in for something else, but nothing quite measured up. I love it still!” – Louise Niemeyer Peirson
“Congratulations on the re-launch of your father’s amazing designs. About 8 years ago I purchased a studio couch with matching chair and table from the original owner. She bought them in 1958 from the NYC store, her quote was “If you wanted Danish Modern in 1958, you went to Smilow!” For many years I have searched for information, asked mid-century dealers, and hunted the internet, with no results. Today a friend found the wikipedia page to my delight, and I found the new site for the re-issued designs. I just wanted to say congratulations, and I wish you all the success that these amazing designs deserve. I know people will love them, as I have loved mine for the past 8 years, and the original loved it for 50 plus years before. A truly beautiful design.” – Bret Fowler
Smilow Furniture is fully customizable and made to order. Appropriate for residential, hospitality, contract, institutional, and retail applications. American-made at a 50-year old family-run factory in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Smilow Furniture is a proud member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
Press Info: For more information about furniture, to request high res photography, or to arrange an interview please contact Judy Smilow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-319-0536.