The Pollock Chair
It took the late Charles Pollock five years to perfect a chair that is "a mainstay of the modern office," reports Douglas Martin in a New York Times obituary (8/26/13). His "crowning achievement was an office chair characterized by a single aluminum band around its perimeter that held it together, structurally and visually (image). Massive numbers of the chairs have been sold since its introduction in 1963, and it remains a major piece of the prestigious Knoll Collection … it has been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Louvre."
Charles said his motivation was not money. In fact, Deyan Sudjic of the Design Museum in London said he was "the opposite of the celebrity designers of the 1980s – a kind of anti-Phillipe Starck." "A chair, it’s like a sculpture," Charles once wrote. "It starts as a thought, and then becomes an idea, something I might think about for years … When the time is right, I express it on paper, usually as a simple line in space. Finally, it takes shape." Charles didn’t design many chairs, but what he did design, says Deyan, "was beautifully considered and detailed" with "that elusive quality of timelessness."
One such recent design was the CP lounge chair, which Charles compared to an old Jaguar automobile. "The profile of the frame makes it look racy and fast, but you look inside and you see hand-sewn leather and burl … The chair has speed and craft." He once "said making attractive, useful things gave him ‘a good feeling in my soul’ and made him feel alive. He said pretty much the same thing about his famous chair." "It’s like a woman who is beautiful when she’s 19 and beautiful when she’s 45," he said. "She might be older, but she’s still beautiful." Charles Pollock was 83 and died in a fire while working in his studio.