Rodney Kinsman studied furniture design at the Central School of Art in London. Together with Jurek Olejnik and Bryan Morrison, he founded OMK Design in 1966 to make the furniture they designed. Among the first designs launched by OMK was Rodney Kinsman's 1966 "F Range" chair, a block of foam plastic covered in vinyl. This typical 1960s piece of furniture may be regarded as Rodney Kinsman's most obviously stylish design; later he would concentrate on designing furniture which would remain popular because of their technical construction.
In 1971 Rodney Kinsman designed the enormously successful "Omstak" chair with a tubular steel frame, seat and back of molded sheet steel coated with epoxy resin. The quirky holes in the seat and back actually make the chair more stable. Regarded as the epitome of 1970s high-tech design, the "Omstak" chair is still made by the Italian firm of Bieffeplast.
Another design Rodney Kinsman did for Bieffeplast is the 1981 "Graffiti" shelving system, which is simply leaned against the wall; rubber beneath it prevents it from slipping. In the 1980s, Rodney Kinsman produced pieces that were at the opposite extreme to the colorful and exuberantly decorative anti-design produced by Memphis and others. The Rodney Kinsman 1980s designs were informed by a rationalist aesthetic. They include the "Vienna" chair Rodney Kinsman designed in 1984 as well as the 1985 "Tokyo" line.
In 1981 Rodney Kinsman and Peter Glynn-Smith co-designed the "Transit" seating system for public buildings. Originally intended for Gatwick Airport, "Transit", like the "Sevilla" row seating (1991: designed for Expo '92), has been an extremely successful seat furniture system and more than a hundred airports and other buildings are equipped with these systems.
In 1983 Rodney Kinsman Fellow became a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers and, in 1988, an Honorary Fellow des Royal College of Art.
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