He studied at the Royal College of Art, London. Peter Murdoch gained early recognition as a student, winning awards for his innovative work. For his diploma project, he created a unique chair made from a single sheet of paperboard inspired by a cardboard shirt collar stiffener. Material shortages in the UK forced the move of the chair’s production to the United States. Craftsmen made the chair from a specially formulated paperboard and sealed it with clear polyurethane. It was available in two sizes and sold through high-end department stores like Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus.
Biography – Peter Murdoch Industrial Designer
He opened his studio in London in 1969. In 1964, he released his Spotty Child’s chair, featuring a polyethylene fiberboard with a large polka-dot motif. It received wide publication. Perspective Designs produced and widely distributed his redesigned line of children’s furniture. They were made from brightly coloured plastic-coated cardboard in Britain and abroad in 1967. It earned Murdoch a reputation as a Pop designer. He was a consultant to Hille and Price. With Lance Wyman, he designed graphics for the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. As well as graphics and corporate identity programs for other clients.
Spotty Child’s Chair
This chair is a perfect example of the Pop art movement that flourished in the 1960s. Despite its simple design, craftsmen created the chair from a single piece of die-cut, folded card through a surprisingly complex process. Peter Murdoch designed the chair in 1967 and included it in a collection called “Those Things: Fibreboard Furniture for the Young.” The collection, featuring Chair Things, Stool Things, and Table Things, targeted a youthful audience and emphasized the furniture’s versatility and playful nature. This approach was in tune with the more relaxed attitudes toward children at the time.
In just six months of 1967, over 76,000 pieces from the collection were sold, each priced at less than £1. Despite the success and several awards, the potential for mass production in the 1970s never fully materialized. Since the furniture was intended to be disposable, very few pieces have survived to this day.
The Spotty Child’s Chair appeared in several exhibitions: the 1965 USA ‘Industrial Design Exhibition’ in the USSR, the 1970 ‘Modern Chairs 1918—1970’ exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and the 1983-84 ‘Design Since 1945’ exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The chair won the 1966 Gold Award from the National Fiber Box Manufacturers in the USA. The redesigned children’s furniture range won the 1968 Council of Industrial Design Annual Award in Britain.