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Jules Heumann - Metropolitan Furniture Imported from San Francisco

- 02 Aug 2016 -
32 posts / 0 new

This is a thread about Jules Heumann and Metropolitan Furniture of San Francisco.

Here are some bit of vintage documentation from around the internet, and a few labeled pieces.



- 02 Aug 2016

California Modern again. An end table in rosewood and walnut. A very unusual combination for american furniture.

- 02 Aug 2016

The same design as the black leather and chrome settee/chair, but this time with walnut legs, and not the original upholstery.

- 02 Aug 2016

Lounge chairs marked Metropolitan Furniture. Presumed to be Jules Heumann designs, but this is not proven.

- 02 Aug 2016

Do Jules Heumann's designs turn up a lot in San Francisco? because they sure don't show up where I live, except for the leather and chrome settee up top, which I happened upon years ago.

- 02 Aug 2016

Metropolitan furniture was founded by Louis Abrams, who was from Russia, in 1905. The company was bought by Steelcase in 1987. And in 2008, Steelcase shut down the Bay Area factory and re-distributed production to other factories.

- 02 Aug 2016

Brian Kane graduated from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design. He worked for several New York City design studios and spent a year in Milan, Italy. After returning to the U.S., he worked in New York for Atelier International (A.I.), and joined Metropolitan Furniture Corporation (Metro) in January 1977.

Less than three years later, he became one of four partners assuming ownership of the company and took on the responsibilities of Vice President of Design and Product Development. In 1987, Metropolitan was acquired by Steelcase. For the next two years, Kane maintained his position as Vice President and was responsible for all aspects of Metro's design, including products, showrooms and graphics.

- 02 Aug 2016

Here is a design patent for an extensible sofa/bed which dates Jules Heumann's involvement with Metropolitan to no later than 1958.

And the California Modern exhibitions show he was still designing for the company in 1972.

- 14 Sep 2016

Jules "J" Heumann is my great-uncle - he's the brother of my Grandfather Syl. The two of them ran Metropolitan for many years. J is still around and I'm sure would be thrilled to learn that there's interest in Metro and his design work - if you have any questions for him that you want me to pass along, post them here!

- 15 Sep 2016

Well, we would love to see his old drawings, catalogs, etc. It seems he designed a lot of furniture, but I feel certain most of it that turns up goes unappreciated as nice, generic Mid Century Modern, because it is not recognize as part of his body of work.

I found a few more Jules Heumann pieces and a bio (which makes it pretty certain that is Jules' car up above):

- 15 Sep 2016

Here is the text of his bio:

JULES M. HEUMANN, a native San Franciscan, was born into a furniture manufacturing family. Jules studied architecture at the University of California, graduating in 1944, when he joined the United States Navy as an officer and served in the Pacific theater until the end of the war. Returning to California, he then joined his father in the family business and upon the passing of his father in 1949, with his brother, they took over the active ownership. Married, and father of two Native Daughters, he spends some of his spare time restoring classic cars. With his architectural background training and a keen interest and knowledge of the intricacies of manufacturing, Jules brings to his furniture designs a sense of scale and proportion which results in beauty and comfort. His "WEEKENDER", shown in this issue is being produced under franchise agreement in several countries. Currently he is designing several new groups using molded plywood, aluminum and plastic for the contract field

- 05 Jun 2017

Quite a few years ago I acquired a Metropolitan Couch & Charis set off eBay. I couldn't resist it because of it's fabulous Alexander Girard fabric. I was told it was sold in 1973 off the showroom floor to a buyer from Hollywood but I'd like to confirm that if at all possible. Also, curious if there's any other info about this particular set I should know about. Is it a one-off? I'm getting ready to reupholster it (it's in really rough shape now) and want to make sure I don't make any misstep in the process. Any information about it would be appreciated! Thank you.

- 05 Oct 2017

I have a chair that I recently discovered was made Metropolitan Furniture Company... How do I go about finding more information on it, such as a designer or date range it was made? I am not even sure what this exact style of chair is called (...though I do know, sadly, it needs reupholstered given the tears to the original fabric...)

I am new to this site, so I will try to add photos -- Thanks for any expertise out there as I would love to know more history about this chair :)

- 06 Oct 2017

There isn't a lot of information out there about Metropolitan. You will probably have to find a catalog.

- 06 Oct 2017

Thanks, Leif. As a long-time San Franciscan I should be familiar with this story.

Now to dig in, and catch up . . . !

- 10 Nov 2017

Does anyone know who designed this Metropolitan chair from 1990 ? Would it be Brian Kane?Thanks for the help .

- 10 Nov 2017

Does anyone know who designed this Metropolitan chair from 1990 ? Would it be Brian Kane?Thanks for the help .

- 11 Nov 2017

....had this nice pair of Metropolitan club chairs last year........I'm guessing they were manufactured early 80's or so........excellent quality construction, original maharam fabric in "russet", solid walnut block feet....

.....unsure as to whether they're a Heumann design, could not ever find documentation..

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