Melding function with style, Paul McCobb was one of the leading designers of his time. Born in 1917 in Massachusetts, McCobb aspired to be an artist from a young age. His desire to create something artistic that could be appreciated by all morphed into his career of design; he went from organizing furniture-store window displays to creating one of the 1950s best-selling modern furniture lines.
However, his talents didn’t stop at furniture. McCobb also had his hands in textiles, wallpaper, dinnerware, lighting, television and small appliance design. With his many talents, it’s no wonder the demand for his pieces is on the rise, solidifying McCobb’s place in midcentury design.
McCobb said, “Design appeal is based on integrity of form, simplicity of line and true organic function.” He valued refined shape and functionality overall when creating a piece, and throughout all his designs.
McCobb often combined elements of Scandinavian craftsmanship and international style. The pieces of his collections were un-ornamented with clean lines and made of inexpensive yet robust materials like iron or solid wood.
When he first began to design his iconic Planner line, McCobb utilized all he knew and believed in to create furniture that, as he described it, “has the feeling of belonging in our homes. Such design fits the size and shape of our rooms.”
Often unmentioned about McCobb were his designs for CBS-Columbia and other major corporations. Able to transition his talents to radio, television and hi-fi console design, McCobb was invaluable to his time in many ways.
“Design appeal is based on integrity of form, simplicity of line and true organic function.”
When not creating, McCobb actively presented throughout the U.S., lecturing on his design methods and sharing his knowledge as a professor of design at Philadelphia Museum School of Art. McCobb, a household name by this time, also appeared on radio and television shows.
Looking for more insight to some the era’s most prolific furniture makers? Check out this post about the work of Milo Baughman.