Charles Pollock 1930–2013

At their first meeting, Charles Pollock made quite an impression on Florence Knoll, literally crashing into her as she stepped off the elevator. She had denied a meeting with the burgeoning designer for some time, and finally relented after reading an article about Pollock in a design magazine. Pollock came prepared with a chair prototype in tow and toppled the company founder in the hallway. Knoll hired him anyway, marking the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.

Pollock was born in Philadelphia in 1930. As a child, his family moved to Detroit and again to Muskegon, Michigan when Pollock was sixteen. He decided to stay in Detroit on his own and worked on the Chrysler assembly line when he was not in school. After graduation, he received a scholarship to the Pratt Institute and shaped furniture designs with wire. His sculptures caught the eye of a visiting lecturer George Nelson, who offered Pollock a job after graduating. Upon his being discharged from the Army, Pollock went to work for Nelson and together they designed the Swaged-Leg chair, an example of which resides in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art today.

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