TG12 Sling Side Chair by William Katavolos, Ross Littell and Douglas Kelly
I’ve been searching endlessly to connect some dots and pieces, but looked in the wrong direction as I misread Gratz Industries as Graz Industries and landed in the Austrian city Graz rather than in Philadelphia where Gratz Industries is located nowadays and still produces its Gratz Archive collection of which the TG12 forms a part.
Part of the dots and pieces I could connect thanks to the site Chairpedia, a portal to the (US) contract furniture business. There I also learned how NEOCON was born.
or Bill Katavolos is a professor at Pratt.
Ross Littell died in 2000, age 75.
History of Gratz Industries
Gratz Industries began as Treitel-Gratz with owners Frank [ed: there seems an error on their site calling him Frak] Gratz and Harold Treitel in 1929 in their mid -town Manhattan studio…
Industrial design giant Raymond Lowey commissioned Treitel-Gratz for creation of many prototypes, models and appliance designs.
Donald Deskey, another influential designer of the day, designed custom architectural metal elements and furniture for Radio City Music Hall and its impresario Roxy Rothafel that Treitel-Gratz fabricated in 1932.
It was also during these early years that Florence Knoll asked Treitel-Gratz to manufacture the Mies Van Der Rohe designed Barcelona Chairs, ottomans and day beds, as well as the Tugengdhat and Brno chairs for which the company became so well known.
The company also developed a relationship with sculptor Isamu Noguchi and worked on the iconic rocking stools and other furniture designs. The work continued on various sculptures , models prototypes as well as bases, supports and armatures that were developed for Mr. Noguchi, Gratz Industries still provides custom metal work for the Noguchi Museum.
The second world war brought Treitel-Gratz many commissions from the defense department and related industries and Treitel-Gratz designed and provided seating for the Navy as well as developing instrument control panels for the Air Force.
Treitel-Gratz continued to serve the architectural and interior design community in New York creating work for Philip Johnson and I. M. Pei and partners as well as Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill, and others. The connection with artists and sculptors continued as Alexander Lieberman and Sol Le Witt discovered the artisan-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail that Gratz Industries still provides today.
Furniture design companies such as Donghia and La Verne also commisioned Gratz to produce their work, as well as Nicos Zographos, for whom Gratz continues production of over 100 items from chair frames, bases, and tables to upholstered benches. Gratz recently provided the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington DC with 18 of the Zographos designed upholstered benches for seating in the galleries.
Gratz Industries worked with mimimalist sculptor Donald Judd on many seminal metal wall pieces and later produced the “lightning rods” for Walter De Maria‘s “Lightning Field” installation in New Mexico. Mr. De Maria continues to have work fabricated by Gratz Industries as does the Alexander Lieberman estate, for whom they fabricated many metal sculptures in the 1970’s. Art furniture legend Frosty Meyers has a long standing relationship with Gratz Industries and his expressive 1980s sculptural furniture was produced at Gratz’s shop. Frosty continues to work with Gratz Industries in the development and fabrication of his work.
Architects Gwathmey-Siegel and Deborah Berke, Richard Meier, Philip Johnson, and I. M. Pei have also worked with our company on assorted architectural metal installations and the artist Maya Lin created her ceiling mounted clock entitled “Eclipsed Time” in the concourse and PennStation .
Gratz Industries continues its tradition of service and last year designed and fabricated improved umpire chairs for the United States Tennis Association that were previewed at the 2006 U.S. Open at Arther Ashe Stadium. Gratz Industries is proud to have developed a working relationship with engineer/architect and artist Santiago Calatrava as he establishes his New York headquarters where Gratz Industries provided custom metal work, and railings…