Details about 19 David Rowland 40/4 Modern Bent Plywood Chair VintageSee original listing
Oct 14, 2011
Denver, CO, United States
You are bidding on 19 Vintage David Rowland 40/4 Stacking Chairs. These have Birch Bent Plywood backs and seats with chrome frames and are dated 1974. I would consider breaking up into smaller groups, feed free to email with questions.
Condition is original, and overall these 19 chairs are in good condition. There are some chips to vernier on some seats and backs, and there are also some rub marks where chairs were stacked and unstacked. Some are missing the plastic floor protectors. Overall chrome frames are in good condition.
Below is some interesting information on David Rowland and the "40 in four chair"
Industrial designer David Rowland, who passed away about a year ago, was one of the lucky ones. His 40/4 chair, of which you can stack 40 in a four-foot-high space, has sold in the multimillions. They're in the MoMA. And every space-tight place from church basements to submarines has a pile of them tucked away, ready to deploy.Rowland designed the chairs largely on his own time in the late 1950s, but companies were not interested and his design lay fallow for eight years. Then a big-name architecture firm suddenly needed 17,000 chairs for a massive project at the University of Chicago and the rest, as they say, is history.
In a $40-a-month one-room apartment in Upper Manhattan in the late 1950s, Mr. Rowland designed what he called the “40 in four” chair, later known as the 40/4.
An elegant alternative to the folding chair, the 40/4 was so named because it allowed 40 chairs to be stacked four feet high. Mr. Rowland wanted a chair that did not “rely on beauty alone,” he told The New York Times in 1985. “I needed to think of added features.”
Saving space was the feature he focused on, and in his design process he calculated that two chairs could fit into a cubic foot, or 320 chairs in 160 cubic feet. “That had never been done before,” he said.
For the better part of eight years, manufacturers literally were not buying it. But in 1963 the architecture and design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill needed 17,000 chairs for a project at the University of Chicago. GF Furniture Systems, a manufacturer, took the order and made Mr. Rowland’s chair.
“They have been sold in the multimillions,” Mrs. Rowland said. “When it passed several million, we lost track.”
The original steel and plastic model sold for $16 in 1963. Now manufactured by OSI Furniture in the United States and Howe Furniture in Denmark, the basic chair sells for about $175 and the upholstered, wood veneer model for about $290.
In 1964, a year after it went on the market, the 40/4 was awarded the grand prize at the prestigious Milan Triennale, the first of many design awards it has received. It is also in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and several other major museums.
David Lincoln Rowland was born in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 1924, the only child of Earl and Neva Chilberg Rowland. His father was an artist and the director of the Haggin Museum in Stockton, Calif.; his mother was a violinist. His wife of 39 years, the former Erwin Wassum, is his only immediate survivor.
After serving in the Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II, Mr. Rowland graduated from Principia College in Illinois in 1949 and two years later received a master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He then came to New York and was hired by Norman Bel Geddes, a renowned industrial designer.
But Mr. Rowland was working on his own “at odd hours,” he said, when he started designing the first of the more than 20 models that eventually became the 40/4.
Back then he could not imagine, his wife said, that
his chairs would be lined up — and later stacked — on American
submarines, at the Indonesian Cultural Center in Jakarta and in St.
Paul’s Cathedral in London for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981.
I would prefer the chairs be picked up, but would be happy to work with the winning bidder regarding shipping.
I would estimate shipping cost to be $250, please email with your location for an exact shipping quote.
Please refer to the pictures for details
Payment due within 3 days of auction end
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