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Charles Pollock

Charles Pollock is a furniture designer known especially for his contributions to chair forms and ergonomic systems. He is also a lifetime recipient of the IBD Bronze Medal Award, a tribute from the Dutch Institution of Industrial Design, and the Pratt Institute's Excellence By Design Award. Born in Philadelphia in 1930, Charles Pollock’s family moved to Detroit when he was just 14. There, he received a comprehensive education in academics, art and design at Cass Technical High School. While still in school, he started working part-time at Chrysler Corporation, where he produced visual aids and worked on the production line; this was his first real glimpse into the world of manufacturing. Pollock excelled at Cass and was awarded a full scholarship to the School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute in New York. After graduating, he was able to collaborate with renowned industrial designer George Nelson as well as Donald Deskey, the distinguished designer of Radio City Music Hall. Finally, he opened his own studio in Brooklyn, where he collaborated with designer and architect Florence Knoll. Pollock spent five years developing a new concept and production method for office seating, and in 1965 Knoll released the Pollock Chair. The chair became a staple in offices throughout the U.S. in the 1960s, spawned many copies, and is still in production today. Examples of the iconic piece can be found in the Smithsonian Institution and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After Knoll’s retirement in 1965, Pollock spent time in Europe skiing, painting and sculpting. He continued designing, however, and in 1982, the award-winning Penelope Chair was released through the Italian company Castelli. It was one of the first passively ergonomic chairs produced with simple parts. The designer often sketched ideas and forms using a continuous curved line, and he wanted his products to be visually attractive, functional and affordable. Along with desk chairs, Pollock designed benches, armchairs, tables and much more. Although he passed away in 2013, Charles Pollock's influence lives on: his works are copied and studied in design schools, and sales figures attest to his ongoing popularity in today's marketplace.