Charles Pollock was more than an industrial designer. He was an office furniture artist. A contemporary of Charles Eames, George Nelson and Florence Knoll, Pollock was fortunate to actually collaborate with each of these famous designers during his career. His most famous chair isn’t known by some cute marketing name. It is simply called the “Pollock”. He describes the inspiration to create a design based on a single line this way, “Everything has an edge and everything is a line…I experimented with wire and curved the edge…I developed the idea of ‘rim technology’ and hit on the design.” After much refinement with the guidance and encouragement of Florence Knoll, the chair came into being and quickly caught on as a favorite for swanky executive offices.
What’s in a Rim?
The iconic rim is more than an aesthetic detail. It’s actually the piece that holds the whole chair together. Besides offering structural support, the rim is protective. “It doesn’t rust, it doesn’t tarnish, it doesn’t fade. It keeps its visual appearance almost forever. In other words you have a visually pleasing color or texture or chrome finish articulated in a fashion that goes around the edge of the chair, which is beautiful and acts as a guard against destructing the chair no matter where you hit it….up, down, front, side, back, whatever.” This chrome and leather dream has been featured on hit TV shows like Mad Men, occupied collections in several major museums (including the Smithsonian), and is still available from Knoll.
What Happened to Pollock?
It would be incorrect to think of Pollock as a one-hit wonder. He actually worked hard throughout his career. Sadly, he did not regain commercial success for many decades. After a long hiatus from the public eye, Pollock was commissioned recently by Jerry Helling, president of Bernhardt Design to create another great seating option. The CP Lounge chair shows how Pollock’s great taste and sense of the classic hasn’t changed since the 1960s. Pollock passed away in a fire this month at the age of 83. His designs will continue to bring his memory to mind for many decades to come.