Brown Jordan celebrates 70 years of iconic design with colorful Kantan and Tamiami reissues

Plus: We get a terrific history lesson
in classic midcentury Brown Jordan patio furniture

midcentury patio furnitureHere’s a delightful reminder that it’s really spring:  Celebrating 70 years of iconic design, Brown Jordan last fall reissued two of its popular midcentury patio furniture styles — Tamiami and Kantan. The collections of chairs, tables and loungers come in twelve vividly happy colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Bright Green, Dark Green, Bright Blue, Marine, Hot Pink, White Lite, Coffee, Mica and Night. Plus it gets better — both chair styles can be customized by mixing and matching aluminum frame and vinyl strap colors to create a whole new rainbow of options. Sounds like fun to me!

vintage patio furnitureFrom the press release when the collection was issued in September:

BROWN JORDAN CELEBRATES 70 YEARS OF ICONIC DESIGN
Industry leader commemorates Platinum Anniversary with limited editions that exemplify a legacy of timeless design and innovation

Brown Jordan, the distinguished legacy brand, celebrates 70 years of pioneering design in the luxury casual furniture market. Established in 1945 by Robert Brown and Hubert Jordan in Pasadena, California, the company’s founders had a singular vision—to develop original designs that would set the standard for quality, craftsmanship and design. Ultimately, Brown and Jordan would create a new furniture category and beget the new outdoor furniture industry.

An industrial designer by profession, Robert Brown manufactured and sold high-end custom furniture to interior designers and architects in the Los Angeles area. Inspired by the success of Brown’s designs, the two partners decided to offer the “Morning Glory” collection to Bullock’s Wilshire, a legendary department store frequented by the wellheeled residents of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Bullock’s ordered the Morning Glory breakfast set and ran a weekend newspaper ad to advertise its new product. On Saturday morning, the line outside Bullock’s stretched around the block and by end of day, Brown Jordan’s graceful wrought-iron breakfast set had sold out.

midcentury patio furniture

Although still a fledgling enterprise, Brown Jordan’s success at Bullock’s created a circle of devotees and stimulated new creativity and invention. In 1948, Brown Jordan introduced “Leisure,” a collection constructed of lightweight tubular aluminum and vinyl lace and meant expressly for full-time outdoor use. The collection marked the birth of true outdoor furniture. Designed for comfort and practicality, Leisure was offered in cheerful Jonquil and Parrot Green—colors that matched the relaxed California lifestyle.

“Brown Jordan’s origin in Pasadena is fundamental to its identity,” said Stephen F. Elton, Chief Brand Officer for Brown Jordan. “The mid-century years in Los Angeles were a period of extraordinary creativity nurturing designers and architects like Charles Eames, Richard Neutra and John Lautner, while a mild climate allowed people to redefine concepts of architecture and lifestyle. Entertaining on the patio or lounging by the pool became a way of life. And Brown Jordan became synonymous with outdoor furniture of timeless design and enduring quality.”

The Walter Lamb Bronze collection is among the early and notable Brown Jordan collections still in production today. Introduced in the 1940s and made using cotton cording and copper pipe salvaged from naval ships that had sunk in Pearl Harbor, the Bronze collection was popular through the 1960s and reintroduced in 2008, with a brass frame and UV-resistant nylon cording. It remains one of Brown Jordan’s most admired collections, and to this day it is highly sought after by collectors and design enthusiasts.

midcentury patio furniture

The introduction and popularity of Tamiami, designed in the 1950’s by Hall Bradley, extended Brown Jordan’s presence well beyond California and soon the company’s “sun fashions” graced gardens and patios on the East Coast and across the U.S.

midcentury patio furniture

The iconic Tamiami chair, distinguished by its striking structural beauty, was fashioned with an aluminum frame and vinyl straps laced in a diagonal pattern. Originally offered in two colors, demand for the collection inspired a palette of 11 “fashion colors du jour,” a precedent for Brown Jordan’s trend-setting use of color.

vintage patio furniture

Similarly, Brown Jordan introduced the Kantan Lounge Chair, created by Tadao E. Inouye in 1956. Kantan was chosen by the Department of Commerce to be a part of the U.S. exhibit at the 1959 Industrial Worlds Fair held in Tokyo and in 1968, was incorporated into the “Please Be Seated” show sponsored by the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

vintage patio furniturevintage patio furniture

In 2013, Brown Jordan re-introduced the Kantan Lounge Chair, an elegant update of the classic mid-century design, executed in natural brass paired with Suncloth straps. Kantan was warmly received by the design community and has won several awards, including an IFCA Design Excellence Award. Both Tamiami and Kantan have remained in production for over half a century and collections from every decade have proven to be truly timeless, including Sol y Luna, adapted from Dan Johnson’s 1954 Gazelle Collection by renowned designer John Caldwell. Calcutta II updates Hall Bradley’s original 1967 design and Venetian, designed by Richard Frinier and introduced in 1987, remains a popular Neo-Classical collection. Quantum, Fusion, Wave and Elements, also designed by Richard Frinier for Brown Jordan, have remained in continuous production since being introduced.

To commemorate its 70th “Platinum” Anniversary, Brown Jordan has created timelimited editions of the Kantan and Tamiami Lounge Chair. Producing just 70 pieces, these luxurious special editions of Kantan and Tamiami feature a glowing Platinum finish and straps crafted of supple, top grain leather in a rich shade of brown.

midcentury patio furniture

Paying tribute to the colorful 1948 Leisure collection, Kantan and Tamiami will also be available in a paint box of twelve new frame and strap colors to mix and match. Featuring powder coated aluminum frames and vinyl straps, the classic lounge chairs are offered in a selection of neutral and bold hues: White Lite, Night, Coffee, Mica, Red, Orange, Hot Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Marine, and Forest Green. “The fact that award-winning designs from every decade remain in production is testament to the timelessness that is a hallmark of the Brown Jordan brand,” adds Stephen Elton. “Today, our portfolio comprises 30 diverse collections, many of which are installed in notable environments, including the White House, the gardens of the Smithsonian Institution and The National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.; the historic New York Athletic Club and top-tier hotels, including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts around the world.”

vintage patio furniture

Wow! What a wonderful news release — we LOVE getting all this history of Brown Jordan — and we love the gorgeous, classic patio furniture! Thank you, Brown Jordan, for all your help with this story!

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Comments

  1. Carolyn says

    Love the bright colors! The patio sets seen in the last too long have been in beige and brown – more fitting for after-harvest time!
    I prefer the looser lacings of this kind. The “cloth” used now doesn’t give when you’re seated so when you stand up, your hips and thigh bones aren’t in sync and make a bit of a hitch in your giddy-up.
    I wish I could find aluminum lawn chairs from the ’60’s – the legs didn’t stick in the ground because of the continuous tubular construction and the seat was longer to your knees so your thighs weren’t cutting off the circulation to your feet.
    It appears that blue one in the last picture is wider for the comfort of bigger people. I complain because I’m short but poor big fellows don’t sit down for fear of squashing spindly chairs or getting them stuck on when attempting to stand.

  2. ineffablespace says

    Brown Jordan is beautifully designed but expensive outdoor option. A little less than Knoll or Herman Miller (Richard Schultz 1966 would be perfect for my house), but I probably won’t be able to afford either when all is said and done.

  3. Diane in CO says

    I must comment here! BROWN JORDAN ROCKS! Our most prized possessions are our Brown Jordan White Lido chairs and round glass umbrella table purchased in about 1977. It has sat outside, uncovered, for 38 Colorado winters and summers and still looks fantastic. Our biblically brutal hail storms of last summer shredded the straps, but a company here in Denver powder coated and restrapped so beautifully they look like new. LIDO was their most stylish line and how I wish they would reissue that one. I could do a terrific ad for them (have the photos): my 11 month old son with the set in 1977 and him sitting in it now at 38 years old, LOL. 🙂

    Thanks for the alert on this reissue, Kate.

  4. Mary Elizabeth says

    I love these chairs, but only a few patio stores in my state carry them, and I can’t get a heads up on the prices.

  5. ineffablespace says

    I think the Tamiami runs about $500 a piece, the Kantan in the mid $600s and the Walter Lamb around $800-850.

    This is for the armchairs.

    • pam kueber says

      Yikes. All the more reason to know what to look for when I am shopping estate sales and the like! I KNOW I have seen vintage Brown Jordan before — I’m thinking $100 for a four-chairs set, table with acrylic top and maybe there was even an umbrella. Not sure if how old it was, whether it was one of these classic designs; but I recall it was in great shape and seemed like quite the bargain no matter what the era.

  6. Frances says

    Brown and Jordan table tops were glass … not acrylic / there were a lot of knock offs. And they were always expensive 🙂

  7. Caryl says

    I would love it if you did a feature on Salterini patio furniture. I have approx. 16 pieces that my parents purchased in N. California in the 60s. It is difficult to find out much info on his line. I know there must be some old catalogs out there somewhere !

  8. Allison says

    I scored two of these in white last fall from the curb on trash day. A good scrub and they were as good as new.

  9. JKM says

    This is the exact Brown Jordan my mother bought in the early 1970s – the very ones my dad almost had a stroke over when presented the invoice for payment. Expensive but excellent quality. Bright yellow with white straps – and we figured out quickly to sit on towels if in swimsuits or else have strap marks on our legs!

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