Design Lover: Harry Bertoia Bird Chair

Harry Bertoia won his first award (a scholarship) in 1932 at the age of seventeen. Yet another scholarship followed which enabled him to study at Eliel Saarinen's design school, the Cranbrook Academy of Art. The accolades continued throughout Bertoia's career. He was awarded the American "Designer of the Year" (1955), a Certificate of Merit, from the American Institute of Architects, the AIA Craftsmanship Award (1956), the Gold Medal from the Architectural League of New York (1955-56) , the Design Center Stuttgart Award from West Germany (1962), the Fine Arts Medal from the Pennsylvania Association of the American Institute of Architects (1963), the AIA's Critic's Award (1968), and an honorary doctorate from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1976).

Bertoia worked briefly with Charles and Ray Eames and collaborated with Florence and Hans Knoll. It was while working with the Knoll's that Bertoia developed the iconic Bird chair and ottoman. Made from molded chromium-plated steel wire, the chairs are still being made and marketed by Knoll today. There are variations on the basic model but the original design has not changed much. Like all classics, it is what it has always been.

Bertoia Bird Chair: 40.25" H x 38.5" x 33" D
Bertoia Ottoman: 14.5" x 23.5" W x 17.25" D
Available online at Knoll.

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