The Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund

News

8 March 2013

Charles Pollock Receives the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award

Courtesy of The New York Times

Prolific chair designer, Charles Pollock, will be honored with the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award for his dedication to three-dimensional design. The ceremony on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at the Bernhardt Design showroom, 58 West 40th Street, 3rd Floor, NYC, 6:00 – 8:00pm.

The Award recognizes people who advance the principles of design that Rowena Reed Kostellow developed and rewards those who have excelled with their application. “We were in the same Rowena 3D class,” says Lucia DeRespinis. “It was evident he possessed an unusual natural ability. Chuck is being celebrated for his great talent.”

“When I was helping him make a prototype of one of his chairs, he'd yell at me to move the curve 'a millionth of an inch'! That's the kind of perfection I heard from Miss Reed too,” says Tucker Viemeister, Rowena Fund Chair.

He arrived at Pratt from Michigan with a full scholarship, where he bent wire models that he altered numerous times until he was satisfied with the design. He graduated in 1952 and took that process to George Nelson where they designed the Swag Leg chair for Herman Miller in 1958. It is in museum collections, including the Met. Florence Knoll's recognition of his talent helped secure his reputation as one of the world's preeminent furniture designers. The Pollock Executive Chair they developed is the best-selling executive chair in the history of office furniture design. An instant success when it was released in 1963, with the distinctive and patented aluminum rim technology holding it together structurally and visually it became a visual symbol of the modern workplace. It was exhibited in the Louvre in Paris and still in production by Knoll. The Penelope Chair was made for Castelli (now part of Haworth). His new CP Lounge Chair for Bernhardt Design was the hit of last years ICFF furniture fair where they awarded him for his body of work. He told the New York Times, “A chair, it's like a sculpture.”

Charles Pollock joins 16 other champions of the abstract principles 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, Leonard Bacich and Bill Katavolos 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.