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Paul McCobb, modernism american cool returns

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Paul McCobb (1917-1969) was one of the leading contemporary furniture designers on the American design scene in the 1950s and 1960s. Over a timespan of twenty years he designed an impressive range of furniture, accessories and textiles which made him the bestselling furniture name for years in America. Since his early death in 1969 his designs have not been in production, but are now making their way back to the market in collaboration with world leading manufacturers. Fritz Hansen and Karakter Copenhagen launched pieces from Paul McCobb during Salone del Mobile 2018 and many more will be launched in Milan this year again by Fritz Hansen, Karakter Copenhagen, Schwinn Originals and Made a Mano.

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Paul McCobb’s design aesthetic is simplicity of form with a lack of ornamentation. Inspired by his New England upbringing and influenced by Shaker Design, McCobb combined slender lines with sculptural forms. He offered a playful take on traditional forms with hints of Scandinavian craftsmanship and International style clarity, often made with affordable and robust materials such as iron, solid wood and durable upholstery.

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Paul McCobb first came to prominence in 1948 as a design and decorating consultant for Martin Feinman’s Modernage Furniture in New York City. While employed at Modernage, McCobb met B. G. Mesberg, his later business partner in the Planner and Directional furniture lines.

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Best known for his furniture designs, McCobb also designed radios and televisions for CBS-Columbia, Hi-Fi Consoles for Bell & Howell, along with other household items. He acted as design consultant to many leading corporations, including Singer, Alcoa, Goodyear, Columbia Records, and Remington Rand. For years, he traveled throughout America for speaking engagements, panel discussions, and appearances on radio and television talkshows, and he had his own syndicated design column in newspapers across the country. Besides his public engagements, he taught design at Philadelphia Museum School of Art.

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Paul McCobb received MoMA’s Good Design Award five times between 1950 and 1955 as well as of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts’ Contribution to Better Design Award in 1959.

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