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McCobb, Paul

Carroll Gantz
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U.S. industrial designer who had no formal design training, but who opened his own studio in New York in 1945. He worked as a decorator and retail display designer, and eventually turned to furniture, working in Massachusetts and Michigan with manufacturers. He capitalized on the huge post-war need for simple, affordable, and stylish furniture by young, future-oriented, and growing families. His pieces were inexpensive, flexible, and practical. He introduced the concept of "modular" furniture. His "living walls" with moveable room dividers and storage systems perfectly fit the informal and changing lifestyles of the period. By 1950, he had designed his "Planner Group" of furniture, marketed by B.G. Mosberg. A number of important collections followed, including "Predictor Linear" for the O'Hearn Furniture Company, and "Directional" and "Perimeter" lines produced by Winchendon Furniture and marketed by himself. His work quickly became very popular and commanded a large market segment. By the mid-1950s, he was known as "America's Decorator." His work was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. While he was a contemporary of other well-known furniture designers such as Charles Eames and George Nelson, his early death prevented similar professional recognition during his lifetime. But simply "google" his name today, and you will find a multitude of internet websites extolling and still selling his popular 1950s designs, which exemplified this period and are very desireable in collectible markets.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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