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Don Chadwick

  • Don Chadwick
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    Don Chadwick isn't one of those designers who say that their "real" studio is in their mind. Chadwick's real studio is in Santa Monica, thank you, and anyway, he prefers to call it "an experimental lab."

    "We're set up to get dirty and take chances," he says.

    His lab apparatus includes saws and grinders, lathes and drill presses and vises—and not one computer-numerically-controlled anything. Computer technology, Chadwick allows, is great for some things, but when he hears someone suggest that a new chair could have just as effectively been designed by computer, he says, politely, "You're out of your mind!"

    "The only way to be sure a chair is comfortable is to actually sit in it and make changes along the way," Chadwick says. "A computer can't deal with the subtleties of chair design. Good chairs are too complex."

    Too complex? Yes, and not just for computers.

    "Most industrial designers don't take furniture design seriously," he says. "They're not trained to get into that kind of detail. It's too personal, too much like surgery. And besides, you have to be in love with this kind of work."

    Awards / Recognition:

    Time magazine, Design: Best of the Decade for Equa chair, 1990
    IBD Gold Award for Equa chair, 1984
    IBD and IDSA awards for casegoods, 1980
    The Governor's Award, Design Michigan Exhibition, 1977
    Award for Design Excellence, ID magazine, 1970, 71, 73, 74

    Don Chadwick: "The camera becomes an extension of your eyes"

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