History Lesson: Platner Lounge Chair
“Platner was a part of Eero Saarinen’s office from 1960 to 1965, participating in the designs for the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., the Repertory Theatre at Lincoln Center and several dormitories at Yale University.
Working in the firms of Eero Saarinen and Kevin Roche in the early and mid-1960s, Platner unveiled his seminal collection of chairs, ottomans and tables in 1966. Produced by Knoll International, with the aid of a grant from the Graham Foundation, each piece rested on a sculptural base of nickel-plated steel rods resembling a ‘shiny sheaf of wheat’, according to the Knoll catalogue.
Production was complicated. The sculptural bases were made of hundreds of rods, and for some chairs, required more than 1,000 welds. An intricate cylindrical mesh steel base, creating a unique architectural play between the interior and exterior space, supported the upholstered seat.
The collection has been in continuous production since its introduction, highlighting the ever-growing interest by collectors of mid-century modern design. (Knoll has brought back the previously discontinued large ‘Easy’ chair and ottoman, but the loveseat remains discontinued.)
Platner outlined the definition of a ‘classic’ as being, ‘something that every time you look at it, you accept it as it is and you see no way of improving it’.”