Don Albinson (1921- 2008) – American furniture designer

Albinson Chair by Don Albinson
Don Albinson stacking chair

Don Albinson (1921 -2008) was an American Furniture Designer.

Education

He studied in Sweden, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Yale University.

Biography

Don Albinson black and white photo
Don Albinson black and white photo

He took Charles Eames’ industrial and product design courses at Cranbrook. In 1946, he joined the Eames Office and worked on the moulded plywood series of chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames. The Eameses treated him like a son, and he stayed with them in their Los Angeles apartment for six months. Albinson was instrumental in creating many of the furniture items produced for Herman Miller as a key member of staff at the Eames Office, especially the Aluminium Group chairs of 1958. Many of the technological and design advances in furniture produced by the Eameses can be attributed to Albinson’s knowledge of manufacturing processes and engineering. Albinson quit the Eames Office in 1959 after 13 years and was hired as Knoll International’s director of design production in 1964. His first project for Knoll was the hugely popular Albinson chair in die-cast aluminium and polypropylene, which debuted in 1965.

Stacking chair

The 1965 stacking Albinson chair produced by Knoll was similar to British Designer’s Robin Day trendy chair for Hille, although Albinson’s was more sophisticated. They stack, hook together side by side and comfortable to sit in. After Knoll he became a consultant designer to Westinghouse on office seating and furniture systems.

Albinson said that the most important consideration in the design of his chair was to go farther than previous designers did in fitting chairs to persons of different dimensions.

Exhibitions

Chairs shown in 1968 ‘Les Assises du siège contemporain’ exhibition, Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Received the 1967 American Architectural Design Award and 1967 AID award.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Kirkham, P. (1998). Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century. United Kingdom: MIT Press.

TASCHEN GmbH. (2012). Design of the 20th Century.

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