New York Times: Richard Schultz, Industrial Designer Whose Furniture Collections for Knoll are Considered Classics of Modern Design, Dies Aged 95

Richard Schultz Collection
Image via the Knoll Archive.
Richard Schultz Collection, 1966.

Richard Schultz, the industrial designer whose furniture collections created for East Greenville-based Knoll are considered classics of modern design, died on September 28 aged 95, writes Penelope Green for The New York Times.

His most enduring design is a sleek mesh and aluminum chaise with a pair of wheels.

1966 Adjustable Chaise from Knoll
Knoll’s 1966 Adjustable Chaise.

He created the chair after his boss, Florence Knoll, had brought several metal chairs created by the sculptor Harry Bertoia to her house in Florida. Her chairs had rusted out, so she asked Schultz to make something that would be able to withstand the elements.

Until then, most outdoor furniture looked like it came from the previous centuries, “with stamped-out metal, bunches of flowers, and leaves,” Schultz wrote in “Form Follows Technique: A Design Manifesto.”

He was determined to make outdoor pieces that had no extraneous curves. When the chair from the Leisure Collection came on the market in 1966, it became an instant hit.

The chair that modernized outdoor furniture became so popular that the Museum of Modern Art included its sleek prototype in its permanent collection.

More than five decades on, it is still in production.

Read more about Richard Schultz in The New York Times.

Mr. Schultz talks about how he came to be a part of the Knoll furniture company.