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An industrial designer practising in Melbourne, Featherston was born in Geelong and began his career as a designer in glass and lighting without formal training.

After service in the 1939-45 war, he began to develop a range of furniture that has become his signature product: the Relaxation range (1947-49) and the famous Contour Chairs (1951-55 but re-released in the 1990s). This furniture was initially made by Grant Featherston but later licensed to other manufacturers.

Featherston formed a design partnership with wife Mary in 1966 and together they were the winners of many Good Design Awards. Internationally, his best-known work is the famed Talking Chair, commissioned by architect and design critic Robin Boyd for the Australian Pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal. When sat upon, these chairs delivered a tape-recorded message on Australian topics in French and English.

Grant Featherston was one of the pioneers of industrial design in Australia and helped form the Society of Designers for Industry (now the Design Institute of Australia) in Melbourne in 1948. Curator Terence Lane organised Grant Featherson’s retrospective exhibition 'Featherston Chairs’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1988.

Writers:
Bogle, Michael
Michael Bogle
Date written:
2012
Last updated:
2012