When choosing furniture for the home in the late 1940s and 50s, Australians had a distinct choice: dark, bulky and well upholstered or light, functional and modern.
Steven Kalmar (1909–1989) was a Sydney-based furniture designer whose company Kalmar Interiors, promoted contemporary, affordable furnishings, especially suitable for the postwar open-plan houses being built in Australia’s suburbs. Kalmar was born in Hungary, trained as an architect and was one of a number of émigré Europeans who helped introduce Australians to modernism in design. The by-line: 'do you need modern furniture?' was regularly used by Kalmar in advertisements in magazines like the Australian House & Garden.
From 1949 to 1955 Kalmar Interiors operated out of Sydney’s Rowe Street, a bustling centre of local art and design. Kalmar later concentrated on interior design commissions and began writing a popular weekly column for the Sunday Telegraph called ‘You and your home’. In 1964 a book of the same name written by Kalmar was published.