Nov 25, 2013 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
One of the reasons we love vintage is the treasure hunt – learning more about designers that are no longer familiar, identifying rare pieces, and discovering the history behind beloved style principles. Adrian Pearsall is one such designer who may remain unknown to most collectors. We are happy to provide a brief introduction. Accompanying our feature, Doug with Loot Modern has supplied us with some lovely images from his Pearsall inventory. Please join us as we learn more…
Doug with Loot Modern in Des Moines, IA is passionate about all things vintage and has a carefully curated inventory that we encourage you to discover. You may look through his collection on his Facebook page.
Designer Adrian Pearsall lived from 1925-2011. While he trained as an architect, he quickly left that world for furniture design, founding Craft Associates in the early 1950s with his brother Richard.
Known for its mass-produced pieces (at a medium-range price point), the firm also created custom work. Because of this breadth of offerings, a detailed catalog is under construction. If you want to know if you have an original Pearsall, please refer to this guide or direct questions to email@example.com.
Craft Associates broke into the market with daring designs and the firm is credited with creating the low, long form of gondola sofas and free form tables. By 1957 arrangements evolved, becoming more sophisticated, slender, and graceful. The “Craft Look” originated with a bow-front day bed. By using scultpural walnut for furniture pieces, the design ethos for the company was established. Adding to that ethos is the tendency to employ stunning colors. Pearsall noted that upholstery selections were heavily influenced by women’s fashion.
Craft Associates continued to operate out of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania but was later sold to Lane in the late 1960’s. Following this transition, Pearsall went on to launch the company Comfort Designs in the 1970s. In 2008 he was nominated for the American Furniture Hall of Fame.
While he may not be well known yet, he has a loyal and enthusiastic following. Please visit this website for further developments and join us in our appreciation of this prolific designer.
How to identify Adrian Pearsall & Craft Associates designs
Typically characterized as mod or atomic age, the look is often described as similar to Kagan in style.
While known for larger furniture pieces (sofas, dining sets, beds, etc.), they also produced different items such as pictures and small nesting tables. These compositions often played with organic and geometric forms.
The frame and base will be solid walnut, along with colorful upholstery. The furniture will be sculptural and bold with distinct, unexpected color combinations. Above all, a Pearsall piece will be well-crafted.
If you are lucky enough to locate a label on your treasure, you may verify its authenticity. Samples of these can be found at the top of this page.
For our readers: do you collect Pearsall? If so, tell us about your piece(s)! We’re always on the look out for new designers to research – have a designer you want to more know about? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get Betty Jo on the case!