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Charles Pfister (1939 to 1990) was an American interior and furniture designer and architect. He was professionally active in San Francisco. 

Education

He studied architecture and design at, the University of California at Berkeley. 

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Biography

Between 1965-81, Pfister was a designer of corporate interiors in the San Francisco branch of architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. He became active in mass production design and was an associate partner and interior design department, director. He was known for interiors of elegant simplicity. In 1981, Pfister, James Leal, and Pamela Babey, Richard Brayton established Charles Pfister Associates in San Francisco. His extensive list of clients included Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and Citicorp.

He produced the interiors for;

  • the 21 Club restaurant, New York
  • Square One restaurant, San Francisco
  • Grand Hotel, Washington
  • Shell central headquarters, The Hague
  • United Overseas Bank, Singapore
  • a hotel 13th-century monastery in Milan. 
Lobby, Grand Hotel, Washington DC 1987 by Charles Pfister
Lobby, Grand Hotel, Washington DC 1987 by Charles Pfister. Interior Architecture

He designed rugs for V’Soske, seating for Metropolitan and Bernhardt, and lighting for Boyd and Casella. His office furniture and accessories for Knoll included the 1975 range of clear glass ashtrays and bowls produced by Vistosi in Murano.

His 40-piece 1990 Premier Collection of residential furniture made by Baker was said by him to owe its design to various sources, including the work of Terence RobsJohn-Gibbings ( to whom the range was dedicated), 19th-century Russia, 18th-century Sweden and ‘steamship moderne.’

He also designed case goods, seating, and tables for Baker Execu Office. In 1988, Pfister’s firm was renamed The Pfister Partnership, with offices in San Francisco and London. 

Works

Archidex - International Architecture and Interior Design and Building

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Charles Pfister

Sources

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

International Interior Design Association of Northern California. (2018, June 30). A glance back to the office of Charles Pfister. A Glance Back to the Office of Charles Pfister. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/a-glance-back-to-the-office-of-charles-pfister-267536031.html

Kurtick, J., & Eakin, G. (1996). Interior architecture. Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Kristal, M., Schafer III, G., Williams, B. (2012). The Great American House: Tradition for the Way We Live Now. United States: Rizzoli. https://amzn.to/3FhcIVv

Ramstedt, F. (2020). The Interior Design Handbook. United Kingdom: Penguin Books Limited. https://amzn.to/3JaONIE

Shaping the American Interior: Structures, Contexts and Practices. (2018). United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis. https://amzn.to/3T9p9bH

Tanner, T. (2013). Early American Country Interiors. United States: Gibbs Smith, Publisher. https://amzn.to/3FeN5oy


ICID 2023: 17 International Conference on Interior Design

August 24 – 25, 2023, in Sydney, Australia

aerial view of sydney
Photo by Patrick McLachlan on Pexels.com

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Knoll

After earning a B.A. in Architecture from the University of California, Charles Pfister worked on the staff of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s interior design department for 15 years. It was during this period that he created the Pfister Lounge Collection for Knoll, with production beginning in 1971.

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