One hit wonders in design history

Designers who do one thing and then call it quits fascinate me. Some of them decided to become interior designers or architects and some simply decided to do something completely different. Here’s to the one hit wonders of the design world.

Pekka Perjo – Pohjola chair

Pekka Perjo designed the “Pohjola” chair in 1965 for insurance company Pohjola. It was manufactured by Haimi Oy in Helsinki, the same company that manufactured Yrjö Kukkapuro’s furniture. Mr Perjo then became an interior designer and started the company Sistem in 1972. He made no other products.

Pekka Perjo Chair

Anna-Maija Salo – Opinio 360 table lamp

Ms Salo designed and manufactured the lamp as a young architectural student in 1969 since she couldn’t afford a real Italian one. Back then it was multicoloured and called Disco, when it was relaunched in 2004 they started making it in clear and white plastic. Ms Salo is now an architect.

Anna-Maija Salo - Opinio

Ahti Kotikoski – The Anatomia chair

Ahti Kotikoski participated in the furniture maker Asko’s competition in 1968 with his Anatomia chair. He shared the price with another designer. He is now an interior designer.


Sigurd Resell – Falcon Chair

Mr Resell designed the Falcon chair for Norwegian Vatne Mobler in 1974. There is also an ottoman and a table and he did another chair. As an interior designer he also made a few unique interiors in Norway.

Sigurd Resell

Harry Bertoia – Wire series

The one thing that Bertoia actually designed were five different wire chairs in the early 1950s. After that he went back to sculpting. Who knows what he would have done, had he continued working with furniture design at Knoll.


Sol Bloom – Catch it All / Scoop mesh chair

Sol Bloom was, much like Bertoia, a sculptor but he made these two items for the manufacturer New Dimensions Furniture in California in the 1950s. Mesh was popular back then and this was his take on it.

Sol Bloom

Gloria Caranica – Rocking Beauty

Ms Caranica made this iconic children’s rocker back in 1965 for manufacturer Creative Playthings in New Jersey. It is believed that she made other products for them as well but the confirmed attribution to her has been difficult.

Gloria Caranica

Austin Cox – Austin Enterprises/Alcoa aluminium chess set

This chess set was designed by Austin Cox of Austin Enterprises for ALCOA (Aluminium Association of America) in 1962. These mesmerising sets were produced as gifts for ALCOA’s top customers. There’s no indication that Austin Cox did any more products. I’m a happy owner of one of these sets.


Hugh Acton – Beam bench + some other things

Hugh Acton is called a furniture designer, craftsman, jewelry designer and sculptor. He has made a few benches, a shelf and a table but above all he seems to be a sculptor.

Hugh Acton Beam Bench

Norman Cherner – Side chair

Norman Cherner is mainly remembered for his pressed plywood side chair from the late 1950s. He also made other pieces of furniture but the side chair overshadows them all. He focused on prefabricated housing in his later career.

Cherner side chair

Clay Michie – Table lamp model no. 8

For one reason or another Mr Michie seems to have only created this one lamp for Knoll Associates, Inc. in 1956. No more information is to be had about him.

Clay Michie

Gerald Abramovitz – Desk lamp for Best & Lloyd

He designed this desk lamp for Best & Lloyd in 1961 but also made a chair for Knoll. He spent most of his time as an architect and apparently died of a violent mugging a few years ago.

Gerald Abramovitz

Peter Hamburger  – A couple of lamps and a table

He made this lamp for Kovacs, some for Knoll in the 1970s and another one for Ingo Maurer in the mid 1960s. He also created an incredibly wobbly postmodern table in the 1980s. He was also called a space planner.

Peter Hamburger

Andree Ferris and Reta Shacknove – Wire baskets

From Designaddict: “Andree Ferris and Reta Shacknove were a mid-century female design team who created displays for Lord & Taylor, later designing and producing their successful accessory line. They created a series of wire baskets named their “Structural Modern” line.“


Fredrik Sieck – 3200 chair

He made only one chair for Fritz Hansen in 1960 and seems to have focused on his writing after that. He has written several books on Danish design. Good for him.

Fredrick Sieck 3200

Olavi Kettunen – Merivaara chairs

In the 1960s Ola Kettunen designed a series of molded plywood chairs and stools for Merivaara, a legendary company that also produced chairs by Ilmari Tapiovaara, Antti Nurmesniemi, Pauli Blomstedt and Esko Pajamies. Ola Kettunen does not seem to have designed much else.


Lars Gunnar Nordström

The artist and architect Lars Gunnar Nordström presumably made furniture and lamps but I only know of this one. Manufactured by Metallimestarit Oy in Finland. It’s most often mentioned as a hotel lamp.

Lar-Gunnar Nordström

Yrjö Harsia – The Taifuuni Lamp


Yrjö Harsia only made one lamp (that I know of) and he had sort of a diffuse background. He was born in Kivennapa, Finland in 1927. During the Finnish Continuation War he studied to be a bricklayer and at the same time to be an artist. After his studies he worked as a seaman for seven years. Sometime after that he made this lamp and he is said to be a pioneer is the use of acrylic plastic.

The lamp is now produced by Innolux. From their pages: “Harsia made himself thoroughly familiar with the features of plastic through practical learning and by consulting experienced specialists. After having worked with sheet metal and copper, he found plastic to be an interesting material. His initial experiments with plastic lamps turned out so well that a great demand for the lamps beyond those originally designed for his private home became evident.

In designing the lamps Harsia began with a sketch which he, in his own words, “crumpled” by squeezing the models to make them resemble the sketch. Impressive lamps created by Harsia’s pen have turned up in many private homes and public spaces in Finland as well as abroad.
From 1962 Harsia’s life project was to design and produce lamps for the home through his own company. In 1982 Yrjö Harsia handed the company over to this son, Martti Harsia. Apart from the design and production of lamps, Harsia also worked seriously as a painter of realistic landscape paintings.”

Viljo Revell – Coffee table

Viljo Revell, known for his architect work from the 1930s up until his death in the early 1960s, designed this table for his own home. It’s quite interesting and slightly odd that it was not put into production.

Sonna Rosen – Sunbeam Chair

The Sunbeam chair was designed by the Swedish interior designer Sonna Rosen in 1948 and it’s still in production. The chair was later accepted to the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Those are the ones I know about, do you know of any others? Please comment below!

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