The collection
Chair with seat and back formed from sheet of black steel wrapped into a cone shape and four slanting legs.

Side Chair

Designed by
Donald R. Knorr (1922–2003)
Painted zinc-plated steel, chromium-plated steel
Produced by
Knoll Associates, Inc., New York, New York
81.1 53.6 x 53.3 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gift of John and William Minnich, by exchange, D85.169.1

While a student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Knorr entered the Museum of Modern Art’s famed 1950 competition for low cost furniture with this inventive chair and tied for first prize in the seating category. His original design wrapped a single flat sheet of plastic to a sculptural form set on bent steel rods for legs.

Following the mandate of the exhibition, prize-winning designs were put into production, and Knorr’s design was manufactured by Knoll but used steel rather than plastic in a slightly redesigned version, but this raised the cost from the original concept of the design. The seat could be fitted with a doughnut-shaped pad for comfort, which covered the seam at the bottom.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Giles Rivest.