George Korody (Kóródy György) (1890-1957) had a diverse and high-profile design career in Budapest, crossing architecture, interior design, furniture and tapestry, including a period as professor at the Budapest Municipal Technical Drawing School.

In 1940 Korody arrived in Sydney to organise an exhibition for the Hungarian Society of Applied Arts. The exhibition did not go ahead, but rather than returning to war-torn Europe, Korody, then 50, settled in Sydney. In 1947 Korody became a partner in the furniture company Artes Studio (later Studios) which had been established by Sydney-born identity Elsie Segaert in her Darling Point apartment in 1945. The shop offered a range of furniture and textiles, other decorative objects and a custom interior design service. As chief designer, Korody produced a remarkable range of modern furniture and textiles that appeared in exhibitions and in the media over the next decade.

His distinctive range included austere designs featuring Australian coachwood, woven cane, strongly angled legs and black vitrolite glass. In 1950, Dutchman Dick van Leer joined Artes and expanded operations to include a range of office furniture and began importing iconic 20th-century designs from firms such as B&B Italia and Herman Miller. For three decades Artes was a bastion of modern style in Sydney. A prominent member of the Society of Interior Designers of Australia, Korody also wrote articles outlining his philosophy for designing for the Australian climate, writing in 1949: ‘Furniture should be light-weight, of simple construction and without any meaningless ornamentation … Putting dark stains on beautiful Australian grained timber for the sake of imitating Continental dark wood furniture is a crime’.*

*George Korody, ‘Design for happiness’, Sunday Herald Magazine, 20 March 1949.

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Further Reading: ‘Design for happiness: George Kóródy and Artes Studios’, Jeromie Maver, in The Other Moderns, NewSouth Press, 2017

Posted by:Rebecca Hawcroft

Researcher of architecture and design history, Rebecca curated the 2017 Museum of Sydney exhibition The Moderns: European designers in Sydney and edited the book The Other Moderns (New South Press, 2017)

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