The Chairs of Blake’s 7
April 21, 2020 7:47 AM   Subscribe

A compilation all the identifiable seating seen in Blake’s 7
"This blog post was originally written toward the end of the two year Watching Blake’s 7 marathon. Since then, 24 brand spanking new beacons of interior design have come to light. To say I’m happy is an understatement."

More of a Doctor Who fan? The same author has you covered.
posted by AndrewStephens (25 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
If you didn't have that Platignum pen holder, I don't think you can say you were alive in 1970s Britain
posted by scruss at 8:09 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]

This is a critically important contribution to Blake's 7 scholarship. The letters page of The Journal of Avonian Studies has been on fire since they saw this site.
It's perhaps fortunate that this year's conference, due to be hosted by the Novosibirsk Servalan Management Studies department at an old Soviet Black Sea resort, has been cancelled. It would have been intense, to put it mildly.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:23 AM on April 21 [11 favorites]

I am not going to lie, I really want one of those Terrazza sofas, although I am not sure how you are actually supposed to sit on it or what room it would go with.

I always assumed that the BBC production designers were geniuses at coming up with futuristic furniture - it honestly never occurred to me that they would just go downtown and buy the impractical and ugly pieces from high-end interior decorating places.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:32 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]

There are.... no words... to describe the amount of time and effort it must've taken to produce this single article. On a very esoteric sci-fi show few people have seen.

I'm impressed. And a little afraid.
posted by docjohn at 8:41 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]

Aaargh was looking through Chairs of Doctor Who Season 1 and my back is aching from the memory of sitting in those Coal Hill School Chairs at my own school. Can still feel the shuddery vibration as they were dragged.

Great post though!
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:45 AM on April 21

Never seen the show, not particularly in to interior design but this was really well presented and for reasons I don't fully understand genuinely interesting.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 8:50 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]

Absolutely brilliant. I do not know if I will manage to get mu children to watch BLAKES 7, but as a proud Briton, I shall do my damndest!

posted by alasdair at 8:51 AM on April 21

Back in the 80's I visited a London (Earls Court perhaps?) store that sold designer furniture that had come from TV and film studios. I was penniless at the time so couldn't take advantage
posted by epo at 9:01 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

*sigh* What the Internet used to be.
posted by praemunire at 9:27 AM on April 21 [7 favorites]

Will be humming the show's theme music in my head for days now. But I am ok with that! Awesome post - thanks!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:36 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

This is magnificent. Thank you!
posted by zamboni at 9:47 AM on April 21

It is a shame that this article was not yet written when we were furnishing our house because it would have been our shopping list.

Low rent 70's sci-fi is my favorite aesthetic.
posted by phooky at 10:26 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]

I had never heard of Blake's 7 until this exact moment, but this post hits upon some of my very favorite things - 70's design, futuristic chairs, and spotting cool chairs on tv program(me)s.

As someone who once exchanged emails for weeks with a professor so I could get in to see a "chair library" that is not open to the public exactly, I love this SO MUCH.
posted by 41swans at 10:27 AM on April 21

It is a shame that this article was not yet written when we were furnishing our house because it would have been our shopping list.

I was surprised by ow many of these pieces you can simply google and find still for sale. Some are semi-affordable. But yeah - that awesome ‘Terrazza’ sofa. The cheapest I saw was $11,700 per piece, and really you need at least two to recline properly in, plus another two for your nemesis to get comfortable in before the Federation Troopers role in and surround them with paraguns.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:01 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]

I once held a B7 gun used in the show in my own hands. Fear me.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:09 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]

"One who buys retro-futuristic furniture can never be betrayed by their taste, only mistaken."
- Zod Kitchens
posted by zaixfeep at 11:28 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

I once held a B7 gun used in the show in my own hands. Fear me.

Zen, Slave or Federation?
posted by biffa at 12:02 PM on April 21

Liberator gun of course!
I'm not a barbarian.
(It was at an SF convention in the early eighties. Matt Irvine was GoH and brought a few props. Only con I ever went to. I don't have fond memories of SF fandom)
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:12 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]

Blake's 7 pandemic shopping list
(didn't get all of them on the list - but lots of cool things - if this is your jam.)

‘Terrazza’ sofa - Ubald Klug - 1972 - $11,700
- Bonus - The Story Behind the Terrazza Sofa's Iconic Design
Lotus - Paul Boulva for Artopex- 1976 - $399 on Etsy
Comforto - Charles Pollock - $699 for used set of two
‘Tulip’ Dining Table 42″ - Eero Saarinen - $2464
‘Tulip’ Chair Eero Saarinen - 1956 - $229
Tractor stool - Rodney Kinsman -1960's - $1825 for a pair
Venus - Pieff of Worcester- 1970’s - £395.00 + VAT
Elda - Joe Colombo - 1963 - $7,543
Danish X Line Stacking Chairs - Niels Jørgen Haugesen for Hybodan AS - 1977 - $250
Boby storage unit - Joe Columbo - 1971 - $482
Contour Chaise and Lounge Chair Richard Schultz - 1966 - $2131
Reigate Rocking Chair - William Plunkett - 1964 - £1,800.00
De Sede DS80 Modular Sofa - De Sede - 1969 - $9,861
Viggen chair - Börje Johanson for Johanson Design - 1970’s - set of four used for $1,400
Contempra Telephone - Northern Telecom - 1968 - $20 on eBay
Vicario chair - Vico Magistretti - 1972 - $921
LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) - Joe Columbo -1964 - $1,950
Cassina LC4 Chaise Lounge - Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand - 1928 - $1,099 (for reproduction) but can be significantly more expensive - new from Cassina sounds like they can be $5,000 plus.
S70-3 stool - Borge Lindau and Bo Lindekrantz, for Lammhults - 1968 - $1,400 for pair
"Ghia" Dining Chairs - Charles Gibilterra for Brueton - 1970s - $5,625
Sorella lamp - Harvey Guzzini - 1972 - $1,246.32
40/4 stackable chair - David Rowland - 1964 - $123
Pileo floor lamp - Gae Aulenti - 1972 - $1,072 (for the desktop version of the lamp)
Cado 291 - Steen Ostergaard - 1969 - set of six - $1,300
Scimitar easychair - Preben Fabricius & Jørgen Kastholm - 1960’s - $16,646.44
Alpha’ sling chair Maurice Burke for Pozza - 1960’s - $1,238
Platignum Pen Holder - Unknown - 1970’s - $35
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:59 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]

There are.... no words... to describe the amount of time and effort it must've taken to produce this single article. On a very esoteric sci-fi show few people have seen.

Allow me introduce you to Pork Chops and Apple Sauce: Appraising the Brady Bunch’s Art Collection.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:03 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]

On a very esoteric sci-fi show few people have seen.

I'm not so sure about that - I mean yes its no Dr Who - but from Wikipedia - "Blake's 7 was popular from its first broadcast, watched by approximately 10 million in the UK and shown in 25 other countries." I mean they made 4 seasons and 52 episodes of it - so its not like it was 3 shows and done. And some of the episodes on Youtube are well over 1m+ views (episode 1).

Now whether anyone though they were any good....well....yeah....that I admit may be variable.....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:28 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]

You know, I'd always thought that Blake's 7 was a typical BBC micro-budget sci-fi show, but it looks like they spent a ton on designer furniture. Most of this stuff is not cheap! Every time one of their spaceship sets wobbled, we now know were the money went: chairs.
posted by workingdankoch at 3:28 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]

I'm in Camp Space:1999, myself. All the amazing chairs, lamps, and stark-space-age-bachelor environments and in sexy asymmetrical Rudi Gernrich originals with inexplicable sleeve zippers, no less.

The clothes on Blake's 7 were tunic-y and verging on macrame-adjacent in the worst possible way.
posted by sonascope at 4:24 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]

Clicking on these links from inflatablekiwi has had a wonderfully beneficial effect on the sort of ads I'm shown on other web sites.
posted by 4th number at 12:09 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]

Of all the things to obsess over in Blake's 7, the chairs?

I mean you did see the costumes in those shots, right?
posted by Naberius at 9:48 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]

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