Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blair Aluminum Furniture

It's important to realize that time does not stand still. For a designer this means that design ideas change, new approaches are tried, new materials become popular/available, in general - things move on. Paul McCobb was no different from any other designer in this regard, his designs changed over time and his design work in the 60's was really very different from where he started in the late 40's/early 50's.

Some time around 1960 Paul McCobb and Directional broke the ties that had bound them together and each went their separate ways. Paul McCobb, now a free agent for the first time in a decade, was at first unsure how he was going to proceed (according to interviews with friends and relations) but soon enough opportunities presented themselves, amongst these new opportunities was the chance to design a group of office seating for Blair Aluminum Furniture. This new group of office chairs was very synergistic with the continuing design work McCobb was doing with the Mutschler Bros. in the form of their 1961, McCobb designed, "Series 800" group of office furniture.

Now it's not entirely clear whether Mutschler Bros. themselves brokered the deal with Blair or whether Blair contracted with McCobb directly, but, whatever the case might be, the results were the "Series 690" group of 6 office chairs designed by McCobb, manufactured by Blair Aluminum Furniture and marketed by Cranbrook Inc.

The chairs are first shown and mentioned in an article about Mutschler's Series 800 office furniture in the June 1961 issue of Interiors Magazine and then again in the July 1961 issue of Interior Design Magazine. In 1962 Blair and/or Cranbrook took out a few full page ads in Interiors Magazine advertising the group.

Interiors Magazine - April 1962

Considering the scant few historical mentions for this group (there are four total that I have found) we are very lucky to have complete information on it in the form of the original catalogs and brochures courtesy of Melissa McCobb.

Blair Series 690 by Paul McCobb one sheet page 1

Blair Series 690 by Paul McCobb one sheet page 2