Richard Schultz designed the 1966 Collection at the request of Florence Knoll who, after retiring, wanted outdoor furniture that could withstand the corrosive Florida ocean air. The 1966 Collection is regarded as the first modern outdoor furniture and has been the category standard ever since.
About the Design
Richard Schultz: “In October 1962 I began working on an aluminum outdoor group. Florence Knoll moved to Florida and said, ‘You have to make some decent outdoor furniture, something that is made out of materials that won’t rust and corrode.’ That appealed to me, and I started working.
“I experimented with button connectors for the slings, padded slings and plastic beading around the tabletops. Ultimately I devised concealed connectors, which made the chairs more elegant.
“In April 1963 Florence Knoll approved the outdoor program. I had to develop all the patterns for all the cast parts. It took me a long time to develop the collection, as there wasn’t a whole team of people to help me. Details were carefully considered. We spent so much time refining it. That’s why the furniture still looks fresh.
“In March 1966 the furniture was introduced. The furniture didn’t have extraneous curves. Most outdoor furniture those days was designed to look like it was designed before the French Revolution, with stamped out metal, bunches of flowers and leaves; it was very much period looking furniture. This was the first outdoor furniture that enthusiasts of modern design could say, ‘this is a breath of fresh air.'”