30 Years Later, Industrial Design Icon Charles Pollock Returns From Hibernation With a Bold New Chair

30 Years Later, Industrial Design Icon Charles Pollock Returns From Hibernation With a Bold New Chair
Charles Pollock's CP lounge chair
(Bernhardt Design)

The return of Charles Pollock to industrial design is not unlike a resurrection of the dead. In the early '60s, Pollock devoted five years to the painstaking process of prototyping a chair for Florence Knoll, adjusting every minute detail by hand until he created what was, in her eyes, perfection. He made what we now know as the iconic Pollock Chair, a milestone in comfort for the modern workplace and one of the best-selling office chairs in history. In 1982 Pollock crafted the award-winning Penelope Chair for Castelli, shortly before retreating to a life of skiing, sculpting, and painting for nearly 30 years, effectively falling into design stasis.

Next week Pollock, now 82 years old, makes his triumphant return from hibernation at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at New York's Javits Center. After Jerry Helling, president of manufacturer Bernhardt Design, diligently sought him out, Pollock created the CP lounge chair, his first American design since the ‘60s. Resting on polished stainless steel, it features loop-stitching, hand-quilted panels of leather, suede, or felt, and the same aesthetic of fine craftsmanship and comfort as its predecessor. What is it about the Pollock Chair that still has us hooked, even decades later? "Call it a personality," he told the New York Times. "It's like a woman who is beautiful when she’s 19 and beautiful when she's 45."

 

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