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 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.

Stacking chair

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.

Knoll International Graphic Program: The Albinson Chair 1967
Knoll International Graphic Program: The Albinson Chair 1967

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.

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.

Sources

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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  • Cini Boeri Italian Furniture & Industrial Designer

    Cini Boeri foam furniture

    She worked as an interior and furniture designer in the studio of Marco Zanuso, Milan, 1952—63. In 1963, she set up her studio, specializing in civil and interior architecture and industrial design. She was associated with ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale). In 1979, she formed Cini Boeri Associati, Milan. Read More →

  • Pedro Miralles (1955 – 1993) Spanish architect and designer

    Pedro Miralles featured image

    In Madrid, he encountered people associated with postmodern culture, including architect Rafael Moneo, his university professor, and members of the Madrid movida movement, such as film director Pedro Almodóvar and fashion designer Jess del Well.Read More →

  • Alf Sture (1915 – 2000) One of the Greats of Norwegian Furniture

    Alf Sture featured image

    Furniture, he said, should work as intended. Seating furniture must be adapted to anatomical requirements. Still, beyond this, they should in their form help to characterize an environment with security and warmth and often appeal to something familiar and dear.Read More →

  • École de Nancy – Art Nouveau artisans and designers

    Main building of the École de Nancy

    Between 1890 and 1914, the École de Nancy, or Nancy School, was a group of Art Nouveau artisans and designers based in Nancy, France. The furniture designer Louis Majorelle, the cabinet maker and glass artist Jacques Grüber, the glass and furniture designer Émile Gallé, and the Daum crystal factory were important contributors.Read More →

  • Ross Franklin Littell (1924 – 2000) American textile and furniture designer

    Ross Littell featured image

    Ross Franklin Littell (1924 – 2000) was an American textile and furniture designer known forRead More →

  • The Oscar Ottoman by Matthew Hilton

    Oscar Ottoman featured image

    The Oscar Ottoman is created in the United Kingdom from environmentally friendly materials. The Oscar collection is huge in size but light in appearance, striking a nice mix between contemporary and heritage. It’s constructed with a European wooden frame, jute webbing, and hessian straps, and then covered with a blend of natural fibres, animal hair, and wool. The feet are composed of walnut dyed beech that has been turned. Hilton has developed a sculpture that is both reserved and humble by juxtaposing lengthy straight lines with delicate natural curves.Read More →

  • Grant Featherston (1922 – 1995) Australian Designer

    Grant Featherston featured image

    He was born in Geelong, Victoria. In 1965, he married Mary Bronwyn Currey, an English-born interior designer, and the pair worked closely as interior designers for many decades. Between 1938-39, Featherston designed decorative-glass panels for Oliver-Davey Glass, Melbourne, and 1939-40 lighting for Newton and Gray, Melbourne. Read More →

  • Tias Eckhoff (1926 – 2016) Norwegian designer, metalworker, ceramicist

    Tias Eckhoff Designer featured image

    Tias Eckhoff (1926 – 2016) was a well-known industrial designer in Norway. His production was constrained, but many of his products have endured as timeless design classics. In addition to the design of RBM Ana, RBM Bella, and Low-back Bella, he was also responsible for the famous Maya cutlery and Glohane tableware, to name a few of the solid works that are well-established in Norwegian design history.Read More →

  • Le Corbusier Swiss born architect designer and theorist

    Le Corbusier black and white image

    Born Charles Édouard Jeanneret, Swiss-born architect, designer and theorist, Le Corbusier was one of the most influential artistic figures in 20th-century architecture, publisher of the Esprit Nouveau Modernist newspaper in 1920, author of several influential books including Vers une architecture (1923), L’art décoratif d’aujourd’hui (1925) and Les 5 points d (CIAM). He also coined the principle that ‘a machine for living in’ was the modern home.Read More →

  • Marc Newson’s Aluminum Chair for Knoll

    Marc Newson Chair for Knoll

    Honoring the cantilevered chairs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Newson Aluminum Chair, 90 years later, is a forward-looking expression that synthesizes simplicity, material and precision, in the Modernist tradition.Read More →

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 – 1969) German architect and designer

    Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe featured image

    Between 1905 and 1907, he worked as an apprentice to architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul in Berlin, where he studied wooden furniture design. He created furniture for all of his early homes, including the Werner residence.Read More →

  • Massimo Vignelli designer of subway maps to corporate logos

    Massimo Vignelli Italian Designer

    Massimo Vignelli and his wife Leila, an architect, were considered a husband and wife team credited with introducing restrained, European fashion and taste in America in the 1970s.Read More →

  • Ola Wihlborg Swedish industrial and product designer

    Ola Wihlborg iKea

    He took his first steps towards his career as a designer at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden, where he studied furniture and product design. After graduating in 2004, he began working as a freelance designer.Read More →

  • Sven Markelius (1889 – 1972) – Swedish Architect, Textile Designer

    Sven Markelius Chairs

    Sven Markeilus (1889- 1972) was a Swedish Architect, Town Planner and textile designer born in Stockholm. He taught in Stockholm and at Yale University. In the 1950s, Markelius designed simple wooden furniture and printed fabrics with Astrid Sampe, produced by Nordiska in Stockholm.Read More →

  • André Lurçat (1894 – 1970) French Arhitect & Furniture Designer

    Andre Lurcat chairs

    He joined the CIAM (Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) as a founding member in 1928. Lurcat led the commission on urbanism. His furniture and architecture of the 1920s were geometrical forms influenced by Cubism. Thonet produced his furniture for the Ecole Karl-Marx, which resembled Marcel Breuer’s twisted metal tubular furniture.Read More →

  • Henri Lancel (1912 – 1976) French Decorator & Furniture Designer

    Henri Lancel Side Board

    Jean Dunand, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, and Pierre Legrain of Groupe des Cinq were among his friends. He travelled to South America and Cuba between 1928 and 1930, working in exotic woods.Read More →

  • Louis Sparre (1866 – 1964) Swedish furniture designer

    A pair of chairs designed by Louis Sparre

    He was born in Gravellona Lomellina, Italy. He was the son of Pehr Ambjörn Sparre af Söfdeborg (1828–1921) and Teresita Adèle Josefa Gaetana Barbavara (1844–1867). His father had served as head of the banknote printing company for the Sveriges Riksbank. He spent his early childhood with his mother at Villa Teresita in Gravellona while his father was often on business trips.Read More →

  • Alfredo Simonit (b.1937) – Italian furniture designer

    Alfredo Simonit yellow chairs featured image

    Alfredo Simonit is an Italian designer. He was born in Romans d ‘Isonzo. Professionally active S. Giovanni al Natisone. Read More →

  • Gaetano Pesce (b.1939 ) Italian architect, designer and sculptor

    Gaetano Pesce featured image

    He established an office in Padua, where he became a founding member of Gruppo N in 1959. He experimented with programmed art and collaborated with Gruppo Zero in Germany, Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel in Paris (then known as Motus), and Gruppo T in Milan. Read More →

  • Edward William Godwin (1833 – 1886) British architect & furniture designer

    Edward William Godwin featured image

    He was a city surveyor, architect, and civil engineer who worked for William Armstrong. In 1854 in Bristol, he established his practice with no notable commissions. Consequently, between 1857 and 1859, he lived in Ireland and worked with his engineer brother.Read More →

  • Marcello Minale (1938 – 2000) Italian designer

    Print early 1981 designed by Marcello Minale

    He worked as a designer at the Finnish advertising agency Taucker and as an art director at Mackkinointi Uiherjuuri. He was the design director at the Young and Rubicam advertising agency in London until 1964. He founded a design firm with Brian Tattersfield in 1964. Read More →

  • Relaunch of Magnus Olesen Series

    Relaunch of Magnus Olesen Series

    The 8000 series chair, designed by Magnus Olsen and first introduced in 1981, is a design classic that, in many people’s opinion, played a crucial role in defining furniture design in the 1980s.Read More →

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) British painter and poet

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882)

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a British painter and poet. He was born in London. He studied drawing with Cotman and, in 1848, with Holman Hunt. Read More →

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