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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Karl Springer

Karl Springer (1931-1991) was born in Berlin. He came to the United States in 1957 with the goal of becoming a bookbinder. Unable to find a job in his chosen field, he took a position as a window dresser with Lord & Taylor and began to put his skills as a bookbinder to good use creating small decorative objects covered with fine leathers and skins.

His handmade work was discovered by a buyer at Bergdorf Goodman, where he began to attract an appreciative clientele. By the early 1960s he was able to open his own small workshop and soon began focusing on furniture design. The Duchess of Windsor discovered his work and his shop began to gain wide attention. Many years later he laughingly said, "Once I was discovered by the Duchess and her circle, I probably could have gone on making little leather phone tables forever, but you need a challenge."

He became the sole owner of Karl Springer Ltd., with showrooms in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo and additional outlets in Munich and Chicago. He worked with many materials, often exotic ones, to create custom-made contemporary furniture.

He insisted on high quality work from the craftsmen who implemented his designs. Coupled with an unerring sense of scale and proportion, along with attention to detail, his work was respected throughout the design industry.


Free form coffee table

Pewter-finished game table

Goatskin console table

Python skin telephone table

Onassis chair

Lucite bar cart

Lacquered lamps

Swivel chairs


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