Don Albinson (1921 -2008) was an American Furniture Designer.
He studied in Sweden, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Yale University.
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 critical 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.
Knoll’s 1965 stacking Albinson chair 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 are comfortable to sit in. After Knoll, he became a consultant designer to Westinghouse on office seating and furniture systems.
Albinson said that the essential consideration in the design of his chair was to go farther than previous designers did in fitting chairs to persons of different dimensions.
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.
Toward the end of his career, Don Albinson believed that now that American production and design expertise had achieved the ultimate goal of everything for everyone. It was time for design to solve real problems like affordable shelter, efficient mass transportation and delivery of goods without wasteful packaging.
Boston Book and Art. (1971). Modern Chairs, 1918-1970. Retrieved from https://amzn.to/3CQhEfV.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.
Fiell, C., & Fiell, P. (2021). Design of the 20th Century. Taschen. Retrieved from https://amzn.to/3CRYDd6.
Kirkham, P., Eames, C., & Eames, R. (1998). Charles and Ray Eames designers of the Twentieth Century. MIT Press. Retrieved from https://amzn.to/3nTMFva.
Meikle, J. L. (2014). Design in the USA. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://amzn.to/3FRNVW5.
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His design approach has been categorised as New Objectivity, a counter-movement and outgrowth of Expressionism that emerged during the Great Depression in Germany in the 1920s.
Danielle Quarante ( b.1938 ) French Furniture Designer
She began her professional career as a graphic designer, specialising in exhibition design. In 1966 she worked on product design (children’s furniture, hi-fi systems).
Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900 – 1990) German architect and industrial designer
He was an assistant lecturer at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1922 to 1929, where he primarily designed lighting fixtures.
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