MADE RIGHT, MADE HERE
– celebrating the expert craftsmanship of Kovacs fine furniture
Kovacs’ finely crafted furniture reflects the brand’s European heritage and enduring
commitment to both comfort and style.
Growing up around the family business gave Johnny and Hildy Kovacs first-hand experience of what it takes to make it in the world of furniture design. “Kovacs started out like many businesses in New Zealand, in the garage of our family home in Christchurch,” says Johnny.
His parents Stephen and Maria Kovacs emigrated to New Zealand in 1957, having lived as refugees in Austria, where they made handbags and shoes, after escaping the communist regime in Hungary. With his new-found freedom and passion for craft, Stephen soon realised he could design and make his own furniture. “My mother was a good sewer and pattern maker, so they worked well together and in 1959 furniture making became their full time pursuit,” says Johnny.
At a young age, Johnny and Hildy started learning the skills that go into each design, both joining the family firm after university. “It’s a ‘made by hand, know by heart’ philosophy,” says designer Hildy. “From sourcing the leather and fabrics to constructing frames and sewing upholstery, every cut, stitch or nail is undertaken with care.”
Despite many industry changes, the rise of flat-pack furniture and direct importing, Kovacs has stayed true to Stephen’s vision, producing finely crafted pieces that can be finished in a fabric or leather chosen by the customer. “It’s the difference between us and what is available on the mass market,” says Johnny. “But there are still a lot of people who believe we import our furniture, so we wanted to address this in our new advertising campaign to make people proud of supporting skilled local craftspeople. We make it right. We make it here.”
As the company approaches its 60th anniversary Johnny says Kovacs will continue to evolve to meet its customers’ needs, while maintaining the standards of excellence and flair the brand has become known for.
“At my father’s funeral in 1993, a Christchurch resident of Hungarian origin gave me a pair of shoes my father had made for him when he first arrived in New Zealand,” he says in testament to the craftsmanship that has made Kovacs one of the most respected and well-loved names in the industry today.
Craftsman Bruce McKenzie has been a furniture frame maker with Kovacs since 1972.
Grace chair covered in James Dunlop Heavenly Velvet, $4,361, by Kovacs. Detroit modular sofa covered in Mokum Veranda fabric from James Dunlop Textiles, $10,237, by Kovacs. Louis swivel chair covered in Quilt Blazer Plymouth and Blazer Plymouth wool...