Vintage, Retro, Antique Furniture Designer Adrian Pearsall

Adrian Pearsall was an outstanding architect and designer who was born in 1926 and passed away in September 2011. Pearsall was an architectural engineer who was nominated, in 2008, for consideration for induction into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. This nomination was due to his passion for designing and producing iconic vintage, mid century modern, retro furniture. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1950 he founded the business Craft Associates.

Pearsall’s wife Dorie and his bother Richard worked together with Pearsall making furniture in the Pearsall’s basement. They went to department stores such as Macy’s and Wanamaker’s in New York and Philadelphia and pedaled their vintage, mid century furniture out of the back of their truck. During the 1950s and 60s, Craft Associates was one of the largest employers in Wilkes Barre PA.

Adrian became famous for his long, low gondola sofas with built-in tables. He created unique free-form walnut wood and glass dining and end tables. If you know what a beanbag chair is, you know one of Pearsall’s original designs – the beanbag chair. One of his trademarks was high back lounge chairs. Many of these also had arms that looked like wings and were not only retro and atomic age in style, they were comfortable as well.

In the late 1960’s it was time for Pearsall to move on with his career and he sold Craft to the Lane furniture company. Following the lead of Pearsall’s designs in wood and glass, Lane produced several examples of what is known as brutalist or cubist wood furniture which are today is often wrongly attributed to Paul Evans – not Adrian Pearsall.

After selling Craft Associates, Pearsall moved into a new mindset and created Comfort Designs. His partner in this venture was John Graham. He worked with Graham through the 1970s and 80s when he left the furniture industry to follow a life-long passion related to restoring classic yachts.

People who know Pearsall’s work often compare his creations as “in the style of Vladimir Kagan”. It is not too uncommon for auction houses to attribute a Pearsall creation to Kagan because Kagan has a much more prominent reputation and a higher profile.

It is difficult to find in-depth information on Pearsall. Pearsall’s family has begun the process of cataloging, with pictures, all of his designs and creations. The website is called Adrian Pearsall Home page. This site is not yet functional but hopefully will be shortly. Until then, you can find Pearsall furniture by searching on Adrian Pearsal, “kagan-like” or “kagan-esque” furniture.

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