Bruce Hannah

Product/Industrial Designer / United States / Hannah Design and Pratt Institute

Bruce Hannah graduated from Pratt Institute in 1963 with a degree in Industrial Design. His career as an industrial designer began in 1967 when, in collaboration with Andrew Morrison, he produced award-winning seating groups for Knoll International. The partnership won the Alcoa Award as well as awards from ASID, IBD, and I. D. magazine.

Hannah established his own design office in 1976. Among his many preeminent, award-winning projects are dental and beauty equipment for Takara-Belmont, Japan's largest manufacturer of these products; wire seating for Falcon Products, a large U. S. manufacturer of hospitality furniture; and The Hannah Desk System for Knoll International. In 1990, The Hannah Desk System was distinguished as a Design of the Decade by the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).

In 1992, Hannah was named the first Designer in Residence at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. In 1993 he was awarded the Bronze Apple by the New York Chapter of IDSA for the first national design conference on “universal design.“ In 2000 he received a Federal Design Achievement Award for the exhibition he co-curated with George Covington and co-designed with Tanya Van Cott at the Cooper-Hewitt titled “Unlimited By Design.” In 2006 the exhibition was named one of the 12 most influential exhibitions of the past 25 years by Metropolis magazine.

Hannah has been a tenured Professor of Design since 1996 at Pratt Institute, where he has also served as president of CADRE (Center for Advanced Design Research and Education). In 2003 he received the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award from Pratt Institute for excellence in teaching. He received the National Design Education Award from IDSA in 1998.

The “Hannah Principle,” which states that the historical sequence of design innovations consists of a set of alternative solutions to the same functional problem, was named after Bruce Hannah in 2004 by noted paleontologist Niles Eldredge.

Bruce Hannah is the author of Access by Design, (1996) with George Covington, a lawyer and design advocate. Hannah’s book Becoming a Product Designer was published in 2004. He also was a contributing writer for Phaidon Design Classics (2005) and guest editor-contributor to Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s “Design Catalog” in March 2000.

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