The Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund


19 January 2012

William Katavolos Receives the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award

Genius designer, architect, visionary and inspirational professor, Bill Katavolos, will be honored with the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award for his dedication to three dimensional design. The ceremony will take place the Knoll Showroom, 76 9th Avenue, NYC, on March 8, 2012.

The Award recognizes people who advance the principals of design that Rowena Reed Kostellow developed. Katavolos said that Rowena's teachings “are as important as physics!” I heard about his 48 hour marathon charettes when I was a boy! The design process could really be fun! The committee selected Bill “because of his long dedication to multidisciplinary exploration, the beauty of his work, and because he is truly an amazing man,” says Tucker Viemeister, Rowena Fund Chair.

Until the late 1940s, Bill Katavolos was a painter; then he and fellow Pratt students Ross Littell and Douglas Kelley produced a furniture line including the “T” chair, which is now in the collection of MoMA and the Louvre. He designed furniture collections for Laverne International, partition systems for Time-Life and Owens Corning, and a suspension ring system for the [US Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Moscow]. His manifesto, Organics, published in Holland in 1961 became the basis for chemical architecture. His theory of the fundamental structure of nature is being prepared for publication.

In one of his stimulating moments, Bill said that “If you really want to see Rome, pick one cat and follow it everywhere!”

Bill joins the other champions of the abstract principals of visual relationships who have received the award, including: Gina Caspi, Ivan Rigby, Eva Zeisel, Gerald Gulotta, William Fogler, Eugene Grossman, Ralph Appelbaum, James Fulton, Louis Nelson, Judy Collins, Bruce Hannah, Ted Muehling, Lucia N. DeRespinis, Tom Patti, and Leonard Bacich. These teachers, entrepreneurs and designers embody the mission of the fund: to encourage and guide a systematic educational approach to all forms of visual expression, which is inspired by Rowena’s teaching.

About the RRK Fund

The Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt Institute was organized after her death in 1988 to continue her teachings by supporting scholarships, publishing and programs. Rowena, with her husband Alexander Kostellow and Donald Dohner, created Pratt's Industrial Design program merging form, function, and industry. Their objective was to develop an education system based on analysis of abstract visual relationships that would be valid for all forms of visual expression, including architecture, product design, graphic design, and fine art.

The program flourished and became the foundation of many courses and ID programs around the world. For over 50 years, Rowena taught three-dimensional design at Pratt, where she told her students “If you can't make it more beautiful, what's the point?”

Learn more about Rowena, her teaching methodology, and Pratt Institute in Gail Hannah's book, Elements of Design: The Structure of Visual Relationships, published by Princeton Architectural Press.