Paul McCobb (1917-1969) was an accomplished American furniture designer and businessman, known for his clean-lined, modernist aesthetic which was both elegant and functional. McCobb studied at the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and after serving in World War II, he began working as a designer and interior decorator. He established himself as a furniture designer in the 1950s and 1960s, often collaborating with manufacturers to create contemporary furniture for the middle-class market.

One of McCobb’s most famous creations was the Planner Group, a collection of modular furniture that was designed to be customizable and affordable. It was manufactured by Winchendon Furniture Co. in Massachusetts and sold in department stores across the country. The line, introduced in 1949, was a huge success. It was popular due to its mid-century modern style, versatility, and accessibility for middle-class families. The Planner Group was made of solid maple and included a range of furniture, such as bookcases, desks, and dining tables.

Another of McCobb’s notable works was his series of chairs and sofas which remained in production between the 1950s and 1970s under various names, including the Directional Chair and the Calvin Group. These pieces were remarkable for their simplicity and functionality, often featuring slim metal legs and comfortable, upholstered seats. The chairs and sofas became instant classics due to their simple shapes and clean lines. They became popular in both residential and office environments alike.

McCobb was also notable for his collaborations with larger manufacturers such as H. Sacks & Sons, Herman Miller, and Knoll. The designer created his own lightweight desk for Knoll in 1953, featuring an aluminum frame and a leather writing surface.

In addition to his furniture designs, McCobb was also a proficient industrial designer. His work ranged from radios and televisions to the Plexiglas ceiling of the Pan Am Building in New York City. His designs were both practical and beautiful, and his unique look remains influential today.

Overall, McCobb was known for his innovative and affordable furniture that brought modern, functional design to the masses. His pieces are prized for their understanding of form and function, and his influence can still be seen in contemporary furniture today.