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Object Timeline

1943

  • Work on this object began.

1953

  • Work on this object ended.

2011

2015

2019

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666UAC Armchair, ca. 1948

This is a Armchair. It was manufactured by Knoll Associates, Inc.. It is dated ca. 1948 and we acquired it in 2011. Its medium is maple, steel, upholstery (saran, twill variation), cotton batting. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Designer Jens Risom and Knoll enjoyed a highly productive relationship. Risom’s model 666 chair (1941–42) is a staple of modern design.
Born in Copenhagen, Risom studied furniture design and worked in the design department of Sweden’s largest department store, Nordiska Kompaniet, before immigrating to the United States in 1939. Risom became acquainted with Hans Knoll while working for an interior designer and joined Knoll in 1941 to design furniture and oversee fabrication, mainly for commissions by architects and private clients. Determined to expand his business, Knoll assembled Risom’s designs as a featured collection in the company’s first catalog, published in 1942. The product line exhibited the company’s design direction: wood furnishings in a modern idiom. Wartime material shortages did not constrain Risom’s creativity but rather fostered experimentation and resourcefulness. The company used material that had been rejected by the government as substandard for military use, but proved quite suitable for residential seating. This can be seen in the use of webbing in place of traditional upholstery on many of Risom’s chairs, and in the use of “regulated” (soft) wood for furniture frames. After the war, Knoll utilized army surplus webbing available at a discount.
By the war’s end in 1945, Knoll offered to collaborate with manufacturers returning to civilian production as prospective home furnishings makers. One of these, the Chicopee Manufacturing Corporation, made a fabric woven from Saran plastic fiber, marketed under the trade name Lumite. Saran, developed by Knoll with Chicopee, was utilized by the Knoll Textile division from 1948 to 1950. This plastic fabric was available in bright solid colors and stripes and was offered as standard upholstery on some Knoll seating.
The model 666UAC (an acronym for “Upholstered Armchair”) combines standardized wood components in a spare, Scandinavian style, reflecting Risom’s training and design heritage. Devised for economical production, the angular frame is constructed of a few simple, easily assembled parts. War time iterations employed webbing more often than upholstery. This postwar example retains its original durable, mildew-proof, and non-flammable Saran upholstery.
At the time of proposed acquisition, the museum's collection includes two side chair examples of the model 666: one upholstered in webbing, the other upholstered in a dark woven fabric. This armchair would expand this grouping and add an important example of postwar modernism to the collection, both in its form and its use of plastic for the domestic interior.

It is credited Gift of Earl Martin.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 78.7 x 54.6 x 50.8 cm (31 in. x 21 1/2 in. x 20 in.)

Cite this object as

666UAC Armchair, ca. 1948; Manufactured by Knoll Textiles (United States); USA; maple, steel, upholstery (saran, twill variation), cotton batting; H x W x D: 78.7 x 54.6 x 50.8 cm (31 in. x 21 1/2 in. x 20 in.); Gift of Earl Martin; 2011-23-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18789877/ |title=666UAC Armchair, ca. 1948 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>