David Rowland

U.S.A. (1924–2010)
David Rowland studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia and Eero Saarinen attended school. Early in his career, Rowland trained with both László Moholy-Nagy, the great Bauhaus émigré, and Norman Bel Geddes, the innovative American designer who streamlined industrial design and its production process. This unique combination of sophisticated European avant-garde modern design and American technical know-how allowed Rowland to create some of the most unique and comfortable seating produced.

After opening his own office in 1954, Rowland pursued numerous experiments in minimal seating with the goal of accommodating large numbers of people. These exercises culminated with the much-lauded 40/4 Chair, designed in 1963 and awarded the grand prize at the prestigious Milan Triennale the next year. Designed as a solution for flexible, stackable seating and executed with a graphic sleekness, the chairs can be stacked 40-high in a four-foot-high space.

David Rowland went on to design numerous other chairs that satisfy the rigorous demands of mass production while retaining a high level of design sophistication, but the 40/4 chair has not been surpassed, by Rowland or others.