Arthur James Donahue (1917-1996)
Born in Saskatchewan, Donahue showed an interest and aptitude for design from a young age. At Harvard University, where he earned his masters, he was strongly influenced by Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and the ‘International Style’. His innovations and designs using materials such as fiberglass and bent plywood influenced others in the industry such as Charles Eames, whose DAR series of chairs reflect one of Donahue’s early, unproduced designs.
The Winnipeg Chair (also known as the ‘Canadian Coconut’ chair) was originally produced in the basement of his Winnipeg home with the help of his students from the University of Manitoba, where he was professor of architectural design. It originally sold for $35 at The Hudson’s Bay Company.