Hugh Acton is a modern renaissance man, nationally recognized as a furniture designer, artist, inventor, athlete and philosopher. Acton is known for his metal and wood furniture benches and seating in the 1950's. The Hugh Action Bench of 1954 (shown here) had a large commercial success, the slat wood and brass Scandinavian style bench/coffee table was very popular and iconic for the era.
After studies at Cranbrook, Acton worked in GM’s Technical Center. He then launched his own companies to produce his furniture, which included storage units and coat/hat racks, as well as tabletop goods. He sold both firms to Brunswick Corp. in the mid-1960s, but retained ownership of his more craft-intensive designs including the Acton Bench.
Acton’s most ubiquitous creation is the Acton Stacker steel and polypropylene chair, first issued by American Seating in 1976 and still in production. Hundreds of thousands are in use, often in educational and institutional settings.
The Nora team had the opportunity to visit Mr. Acton at his farm in Western Michigan this past fall. Please enjoy watching our conversation with this national treasure and listen to him share his design philosophy and motivations. We hope you'll fall in love with him just like we did.