twentytwentyone logo

Charles Pollock

Born in 1930, Charles Pollock studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and worked with George Nelson after he graduated.

After submitting a portfolio of designs to Florence Knoll, Pollock was encourage to develop his ideas for a leather and steel lounge chair which eventually evolved into the 657 Lounge chair, his first design for Knoll.

Charles Pollock recounted the beginnings of his working relationship with Knoll as a happy accident: "I brought all these prototypes in [to Knoll] without an appointment and pushed them off the elevator and said, ‘I want to see Florence Knoll.’ Fortunately for me, [Senior Designer] Vincent Cafiero came out just by accident, and he said, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I’m Charles Pollock.’ I had had a major article in Interiors, in a series of articles about Saarinen, Eames, and myself about three or four months before, and he had read that…

"So Cafiero said, “Look, this stuff is interesting. Why don’t you take this idea and throw this other idea into it?” Eventually, between Vincent Cafiero and myself, I developed a quarter-inch scale model of a chair that was very, very similar to…the 657 chair. That was the beginning…. And the rest is history.”

Pollock went on to design a range of carefully considered office chairs that were to become a staple of executive offices in America and are represented in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

His 1250 executive family of chairs was designed for Knoll in 1965, based around the concept of using an external aluminium frame element which served as the main structural and design element holding the chair together. This frame held in place all the chair's various components without any further support being required; slots in the back held the back shell and upholstery in position and the plastic back became rigid only once it was slotted into the frame. The chair remains a Knoll classic to the present day.


Charles Pollock