Born in 1930, Pollock spent his teens working in a Detroit Chrysler factory. There he graduated from the prestigious Cass Technical High School and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute. Pollock is the little known co-designer of the Nelson Swag Leg Chair (1958), and the better known designer of the Sling Lounge Chair 657 (1960s) and the Pollock Executive Chair (1963) – both designed for Knoll. His Executive chair was not only revolutionary but it was so successful, that Pollock lived off the royalties for almost 20 years. In 1982 his design for the Penelope chair was produced by Castelli, but for the most part he has kept his designs to himself ever since. That is until the president of Bernhardt Design, Jerry Helling, tracked him down and asked him to have another go. The collaboration resulted in the 2012 release of the stunning CP.1 lounge chair, followed closely by the CP.2 chair and the CP.3 table.
Having struggled with bipolar disorder throughout his life, the past couple of years have been exciting ones for Pollock as he re-emerged onto the design scene – receiving accolades for both his past and present pieces. Sadly at the age of 83, Pollock’s second act was cut short this Tuesday as a fire tore through his modest two bedroom in Queens, New York, trapping him inside. A heartbreaking end for a great talent whose vision has stood the test of over half a century.
CP.1 chair (2012) – An undeniable beauty, this was Pollock’s first American product release since his iconic Pollock Chair 47 years earlier.
CP.3 table – beautiful detailing on a recent table design for Bernhardt.
Penelope Chair (1982) – this steel wire sled frame chair is celebrated as the first chair to feature a ìknee tiltî effect. Designed for Castelli.
Pollock Executive Chair (1963) – with the support of Florence Knoll, Pollock spent five years developing this groundbreaking office chair. Its release was met with wild success, positioning it firmly as one of the best selling office chairs in history.
657 Sling Chair (1960s) – designed by Pollock in his own small studio in Brooklyn, this was the first piece he created for Knoll. Today it is a mid-century classic and a coveted collector’s item.
Nelson Swag Leg Chair (1958) – following graduation from Pratt, Pollock went to work for George Nelson’s studio. Here he developed a unique curvy leg he had first introduced as an idea while in design school. Today the chair is called the Nelson Swag Leg, but the actual swag legs are reportedly all Pollock’s.
Video courtesy of Bernhardt Design.