After securing the rights to McCobb’s iconic midcentury designs, the furniture giant releases a 36-piece collection that includes lighting and furniture for both indoors and outside.
By Rachel Gallaher
CB2's new Paul McCobb collection includes a set of midcentury lighting that was first introduced in 1951.
Last month CB2 released a new collection of furniture, but it turns out that the designs aren’t new at all. In fact, many of them are up to seven decades old—the work of legendary American midcentury industrial designer Paul McCobb. CB2 is the first American brand to produce McCobb’s work in more than 50 years, and the offerings (which includes outdoor furniture, a bedroom collection, and lighting) were developed in partnership with the CB2 team and FORM Portfolios, whose mission is to preserve, protect and celebrate designers through the authentic production of iconic works.
“Our team worked closely with Form Portfolios to comb through archives and hand-select the right pieces from McCobb’s designs, says Ryan Turf, president of CB2. “We worked off of a lot of vintage images and old magazines, while also working closely with Form to identify and reference real pieces from notable McCobb collectors. None of our production methods changed in any major ways for this collection, but we maintained design integrity by working to ensure authenticity throughout the design and production process while balancing the original aesthetic and materials with a modern, edgy flair and reinterpreting and updating for today’s consumers where appropriate and applicable.”
Paul McCobb lighting seen with the Connoisseur dresser.
The idea for the collection first came about when the design team from CB2 was vintage shopping and spotted a few McCobb bread-and-butter plates that sparked a conversation about his overall portfolio.
“Between that initial inspiration that caught our eye and the newer influx of other classic designs reissued in the industry, we knew this was a collaboration CB2 should explore,” Turf says.
Known for his pursuit of perfection and dedication to only including what was essential in his design, McCobb was completely self-taught—the simplicity of his lines, his attention to form, and the intuitive understanding of the post-war American consumer skyrocketed him to fame in the 1950s and ‘60s and cemented his place as an icon in the world of international design. In addition to creating consoles and chairs for suburban households around the country, McCobb designed T.V. sets and office spaces that were a reflection of the optimism and creativity of the era.
“McCobb’s designs are just as influential today as when they graced the first set of The Today Show or the offices of Columbia Records in the 1960s,” Turf notes. “The pieces truly elevate everything else around them and only get better with age. What’s so great about Paul McCobb’s work is that it features the simplicity of form and purity of materials, with enduring designs that make it feel modern to this day.”
Pieces from the Pavilion outdoor collection.
CB2 currently has three McCobb collections in stock. The Pavilion Collection is an outdoor set from 1951 that combines the designer’s original forms with updated features that increase durability, such as Sunbrella fabric. The Exposior Collection is McCobb’s second series of lighting, which was first introduced in 1951. It explores shape and dimension in a set of varied (but related) lamps and lighting fixtures. Connoisseur is a 1954 bedroom collection of essential storage pieces (nightstands, a dresser). All 36 items are still relevant to contemporary design and easily blend in with varied styles and eras of décor.
“A McCobb piece invites today’s consumer to rethink the modern iteration of midcentury, which has been somewhat diluted over the decades,” Turf says. “The Paul McCobb collection at CB2 is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to curate, design, and deliver attainable yet exclusive, timeless, and authentic pieces. We’re proud to be the first American brand to reissue his pieces in half a century.”