If there is one designer who can be credited with bringing modern design into the average American living room, it is Paul McCobb. Between 1945 and 1960 he designed a series of furniture collections which combined the traditional aesthetics of Windsor and Shaker with the simple form-as-function ideas of the Bauhaus and Scandinavian modernists. Using noble materials – solid wood, wrought iron, brass and eschewing ornamentation, he transformed middle-class interiors across the US. His “Planner Group” collection was the bestselling range of furniture of the 1950s and spawned hundreds of replicas.


Despite having a relatively short career, he managed to produce not just several series of furniture, but also designed TVs and radios, textiles and dinnerware. Perhaps it is because he is was so widely distributed that we don’t hear his name alongside George Nakashima and Vladimir Kagan when people talk about American mid-century design. Auctioneers Wright in Chicago have tried to change that perception by dedicating a whole sale to McCobb in June 2017. Many of the lots were featured in our June room. His dining chairs have a particular lightness of touch that we admire.