A beautifully restored pair of early 1950s lounge chairs designed by Paul McCobb, as part of his Planner Group line, and produced by Custom Craft, Inc. The fabric is blue overall, with threads of pink and purple woven throughout. . . .As comfortable as they are inviting!

PAUL MCCOBB (1917–1969) was a leading American furniture designer in the 1950s and '60s. Despite a lack of formal training, he was responsible for an impressive range of multi-functional, contemporary furniture, accessories, and textiles. Born outside of Boston in Medford, Mass., in 1917, McCobb received an early education in painting under private tutelage before attending Boston’s Vesper George School of Art. After a brief stint during WWII in the camouflage unit of the US Army Corps of Engineers, he moved to New York City in 1945 and opened Paul McCobb Design Associates.

The firm quickly took on clients. A commission with the owner of the Modernage furniture emporium, Martin Feinman (1899–1992), proved particularly fortuitous as McCobb rose to prominence designing displays for the store’s in-house furniture line, Multiplex (1947). On the sales floor at Modernage, McCobb met employee Bernard G. “B.G.” Mesberg (1906—1977), a former furniture distributor from Milwaukee. Their animated conversations about an entirely new kind of furniture—that would embrace industrial, futuristic design and mass production as a means of supplying high-quality, low-cost products to the booming, post-war, middle-class housing market—would ultimately give rise to McCobb's Planner Group line, first released to retailers in 1949 and then to consumers in 1950. Under their contract, McCobb took charge of design, and Mesberg handled production and distribution. The Planner Group collection would be among the best-selling furniture lines of the era.

McCobb capitalized on the desires of young American families for simple, affordable, and stylish furniture. His pieces were flexible, practical, and inexpensive, and his collections gave their homes an instant “look.” He introduced the concept of “modular” furniture—and his “living walls,” with moveable room dividers and storage systems, perfectly fit the evolving, informal lifestyles of midcentury America. Inspired by his New England upbringing and influenced by Shaker Design, McCobb's work combined slender lines with sculptural forms. He offered a playful take on traditional forms—with nods to Scandinavian craftsmanship and the clarity of International Style. The Planner Group embraced a minimalist aesthetic—easy to understand and easy to use. Other collections followed, including the Predictor Group for O'Hearn and the Directional Group for Winchendon. Soon McCobb's work was commanding a large market share. The Planner Group remained in production through 1964.

McCobb designed every home furnishing imaginable, including radios and televisions, kitchen cabinets, china, and textiles. He acted as a design consultant to many leading American corporations—Singer, Alcoa, Goodyear, Columbia Records, and Remington Rand. McCobb traveled throughout America for speaking engagements, panel discussions, and television talk show appearances, and his syndicated design column appeared in newspapers across the country. McCobb served as a visiting faculty member at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art.

McCobb was the recipient of MoMA's Good Design Award five times between 1950 and 1955 as well as of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts' Contribution to Better Design Award in 1959. His work can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. After struggling with a long illness, McCobb died at the age of 51 in 1969.

His obituary in “The New York Times” referred to McCobb as “the” American designer. “By careful attention to detail, a selective use of materials, an analysis of function and a sensibility for balance and scale, Mr. McCobb provided post-World War II Americans with a multitude of contemporary designs for the home that fulfilled esthetic and budgetary requirements.”


Designer – PAUL MCCOBB

Design Period/Year – 1950s


Production Period/Year – 1950s

Origin – USA

Styles/Movements – MID-CENTURY MODERN



Condition – Excellent vintage condition. Completely refinished and restored, retaining only minor traces of previous use.

Dimensions – 29 ½" W × 30" D × 31" H

Seat Height – 19" H

Arm Height – 22" H

Interior Seat Dimensions – 20" W × 22" D

Number of Seats – 1

Quantity Available – 1