If you’re not a serious design aficionado, you may never have heard of an American designer called Charles Pollock. But back in the 1960s he created one of the bestselling office chairs in history, outstripping Eames and other famous names. Developed over five years, with support from Florence Knoll (of office furniture manufacturer Knoll), the Pollock chair had a cool elegance that meshed perfectly with the modernist design concepts emerging at the time. It was given a starry welcome in almost every design magazine of the day and became, according to Jerry Helling, the president of furniture brand Bernhardt Design, “a visual symbol of the modern workplace”.
Yet in later years Pollock disappeared from view and Helling began to wonder what had happened to the person behind the design he so admired. A few years ago, he tracked him down in a retirement apartment in New York and persuaded him to start designing again. The result is another chair, known as CP.1 (from £2,034, pictured) – the first new Pollock creation for 47 years.
When asked recently by an interviewer why he was so preoccupied with chairs, Pollock replied: “When you see a chair, it’s almost like a person. It’s this great big thing in front of you. It hits you.” And this one certainly hits you in the eye. Exquisitely simple, it is made from stainless steel and, reflecting Pollock’s love of cars and the smell of their upholstery, features hand-stitched leather. “You’ve got to want people to buy it because they love it,” says Pollock. It’s a heart-warming story. Helling loves the chair, Pollock has been given a new lease of life, and as for us, the public, well, we now have another beautiful design to drool over.