The first encounter we had with OMK products was the T1 armchair, a thoroughly modern design executed in chrome and hide leather with a respectful nod to the Bauhaus. We purchased them from the original licensed distributor for New Zealand who imported the armchairs in the early 1970s. At the time (1970s) they were one of the most desirable and fashionable chairs in the UK and a best seller in Terence Conran’s Habitat stores.

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Rodney’s Aspiration has always been to design progressive furniture employing contemporary technology and using modern materials rather than simply following tradition.
Matt Osborne | OMK
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T1 Armchair

The T1 Armchair began its legacy in 1967 when it was purchased by Sir Terence Conran for his influential contemporary design store ‘Habitat’. It quickly became one of the company's most popular models and ushered in a new era of modern furniture.

Inspired by Bauhaus principles, constructed from tubular steel and upholstered with deluxe coach hide leather the T1 is both lightweight and strong. Today it is regarded as a true British design classic and one of the best examples of post war high-tech design.

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Founded in 1965 by Rodney Kinsman, OMK designed and manufactured much of the furniture sold through Terence Conran’s Habitat stores in the 60’s and 70’s. A key figure in the High-Tech design movement, Kinsman’s products are regarded as icons of 20th century British design.

Rodney Kinsman's aspiration has always been to design progressive furniture employing contemporary technology and using modern materials rather than simply following tradition. Today Kinsman is a celebrated designer and his enduring work for OMK can be found in the permanent collections of the V&A, London's Design Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In New Zealand the chairs didn’t fare quite as well as they did in Europe. The conservative local audience was not ready for these icons of British high-tech design. The chairs never sold and were subsequently packed away for over 40 years. In a way, we were the first in New Zealand to buy a new OMK product.

It’s now been over 50 years since Rodney Kinsman designed the T1 for his company OMK. In the years since, Kinsman has created several other innovative design objects that have become icons of the modern era. Many sit in the permanent collection of some of the world’s most prestigious museums.

When we discovered that OMK was re-issuing some the classic design icons from its back catalogue it was an exciting moment. It’s been over half a century, but we think New Zealand is finally ready to embrace the high-tech design aesthetic that has made Rodney Kinsman one of the UK’s most celebrated designers.

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