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Jens Risom on that Playboy Picture, Parachute Webbing, and Designing ‘Different-Looking’ Chairs

Copenhagen-born Jens Risom designed the first Knoll chair in 1941, which puts his age at roughly “two-hundred! Well, that’s almost right,” he said, seated in a high-backed rocking chair of his own design on a recent visit to the Stamford, Connecticut headquarters of Design Within Reach (in fact, he’ll turn 96 next month). This latest DWR Film features morsels of Risom’s chat, in which he discusses his storied career, interrupted early on by a stint in Patton’s Third Army; his creations; and that famous 1961 Playboy photo (above) in which he played musical chairs with George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, and Charles Eames. Sure enough, he’s still the last one standing.

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