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David Rowland

1924 – 2010


American industrial designer famous for his 40/4 chair, so named because it stacks 40 chairs in 4 feet (120 cm) high. The chair was the first compactly stackable chair invented, and is regarded as the gold standard of stackable chairs, not only for its stackability, but for its comfort, durability, timelessness, and grace.


Designer David Rowland studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the school that helped train Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia and Eero Saarinen. Early in his career, Rowland worked under Lazlo Moholy-Nagy as well as Norman Bel Geddes.


In the process of taking the 40/4 beyond the prototype stage, the road was paved with all sorts of stumbling blocks. Due to his passion and relentless determination, Rowland made his vision a reality in 1964 with its initial launch and has remained in production ever since. Over eight million 40/4 chairs have been sold to date, proof that you need a brilliant idea to create a timeless design. But you also need to believe in it, to produce it.





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1964: Grand Prix, MilanTriennale for ‘40/4’ Chair (one of only two americans to receive this award, the other one being Buckminster Fuller for his Geodesic Domes).


1965: american institute of Designers (aiD) award for “Best Piece of Business Furniture”.


1965: Product Engineering Magazine award, ‘40/4’ Chair
(one of 12 best products introduced in the United states in 1965).


1969: austrian Gold Medal award for furniture.
1971: obtained patent application on soflex®, a new development of


thin resilient seating material.


1979: institute of Business Designers (iBD) Gold Medal for best product in special seating Category.


1979: institute of Business Designers (iBD) Gold Medal for best product of the entire competition.


1980: international Council of societies of industrial Design (iCsiD) Exhibition, Milan, italy.


1984: ‘Design in america: The Cranbrook vision’ 1925 -1950.


1992: Metropolis Magazine recognized ‘40/4’ as one of the Classic Designs from around the world - of the Past 50 Years.




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