EXTREMELY RARE 1939 Art Deco Moderne "Dashboard" Desk by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky
If it appears this 1930's Art Moderne desk has a dashboard, that's by design... The design of renowned automotive designer/illustrator and 'master of streamlining', Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. The count was famous for his wonderfully stylized industrial designs and worked with major automakers of the day like Auburn, Cord, Packard, Tucker and the White Truck Co. With his design background and deep reverence for anything automotive, it is little surprise he would create a desk with a full car-like dashboard (complete with clock, barometer, thermometer, radio and glovebox!) In fact, the desk was patterned off of Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky's personal desk, which he designed for his office in New York. What makes this desk particularly significant, however, is the fact it is one of only two examples known to exist and was first shown at Bloomingdale's 'Home of Tomorrow' display during the 1939 New York World's fair.
The desk was manufactured in 1939 by the Red Lion Table Co. of Red Lion, PA. Interestingly, its sister company, Red Lion Cabinet Co, was responsible for the manufacture of all wooden Philco radio cabinets, so it makes perfect sense that they used a Philco Transitone model in a desk design with built-in radio. Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky was also living/working in Philadelphia at the time, so Red Lion was a logical choice for the custom wood-work.
- Beautiful book-matched Circassian walnut veneer
- Philco Model TH-14 Transitone AM radio
- Power cord access holes (hidden below dashboard)
- Round, solid-walnut drawer pulls
- Five decorative walnut rondels (center one is removable to set clock)
- Slide-out writing tablet
- Nine fully-dovetailed drawers
- 62" Wide
- 34" Deep 3
- 7.5" Tall (at back)
- 30.25" Tall (at top)
- 26" Wide
- 23" Tall
Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky
Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky was born in Russia in 1901, the son of an Advisor to Tsar Nicholas II. Following the Russian revolution he escaped to the continent and began a career as an automobile designer emigrating to America in 1929. In America he designed many famous automobiles and his drawings of futuristic cars appeared in Esquire Magazine from 1934 on. In furniture he advocated streamline design as in the Bloomingdale’s Department Store furniture shown at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York.
Outside automobiles and furniture, Sakhnoffsky also created designs in the areas of aircraft design (Sabca), boat design (feather-craft), Bike design (Murray), watch design (Gruen), and radio design (Emerson). This desk represents the perfect culmination of all of these influences and is one of the best examples of his 'streamline' furniture design aesthetic. Add to all of that the 1939 World's Fair connection and you have an extremely rare collector's piece that spans an almost infinite number of genres!
- Esquire (Magazine) July, 1939 Executive Desks (concept sketch) (See picture) (Original copy of this magazine is included with sale)
- Detroit Free Press (Newspaper) September 29, 1939 (See picture)
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette (Newspaper) August 1, 1939 (See picture)
- Popular Science (Magazine) August, 1939 (See photo) (Original copy of this magazine is included with sale)
- Look (Magazine) August 15, 1939 (Original copy of this magazine is included with sale)
- The Woodworker (Magazine) September, 1939 Article Title: New Furniture of Classic Simplicity Is All Streamlined By George Herrick. "...This walnut desk is patterned on Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky's own desk, which he designed for his office in New York..." (pictured in article)
- American Art Deco Furniture By Ric Emmett (Book) 2014 The book discusses Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky's pictures the only other known example of this desk (See Photo) (original copy of this book is included with sale)
Automotive designs by Sakhnoffsky:
- 1929 Cord l-29 Special Coupe
- 1934 Packard Twelve Model 1106 Sport Coupe & Runabout Speedster
- 1947 White Labatt Streamliner Delivery Truck
- 1938-41 American Austin Bantam
- Commander Gatti's 1937 International Harvester "Jungle Yachts"
- 1939-40 Nash Special 4081 Cabriolet
- 1928-30 Auburn Speedster