– cel­e­brat­ing the ex­pert crafts­man­ship of Ko­vacs fine fur­ni­ture

Simply You - - Contents -

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...


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