David Rowland: 40/4 ChairErwin Rowland with Laura Schenone

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The first monograph on the work of the designer of the iconic 40/4 chair

The American industrial designer and inventor David Rowland is best known for his signature 40/4 chair. Released in 1964, it is so named because it is possible to stack forty chairs in just four feet – an unprecedented achievement that established an entirely new category of versatile seating.

Rowland’s wife Erwin and writer Laura Schenone reveal the inspiring story of how he brought his ground-breaking design to market. Initially, it was rejected by all the major furniture brands, including Herman Miller and Knoll, but Rowland persevered, and ultimately, the 40/4 chair became one of the most successful chairs ever produced, winning numerous accolades and selling over 8 million by the early 21st century. Today it is found in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, and gracing public and private spaces of every type – from cathedrals to cultural centres, corporate and municipal buildings, to places of worship, schools, healthcare, hospitality and homes.

This fascinating biography of David Rowland and his 40/4 chair, featuring more than 250 photographs and documents (many never seen before), tells the compelling story of his design practice and a singular chair, whose design, through the determination of its designer, became the commercially successful and influential classic that it is. The first monograph on American designer, David Rowland: 40/4 Chair, is published to mark the 60th anniversary of this timeless design and includes the wide range of Rowland’s work before and after the development of his masterpiece.

David Rowland was a pioneering Mid-Century designer. Born in 1924 in Hollywood, California, he studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. His elegant, perfectly engineered 40/4 chair is one of the most significant and masterful designs of the 20th century.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 290 × 214 mm (11 3/8 × 8 3/8 in)
  • Pages: 240 pp
  • Illustrations: 250 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781838668129

Erwin Rowland is a crafts designer and was married to David Rowland from 1971 until his death in 2010.

Laura Schenone is a writer, editor, journalist, and James Beard Award winner.

‘Beautifully illustrated … Chronicles the industrial designer’s extraordinary creativity.’ – Christian Science Monitor