Bruce Hannah, L/IDSA


Bruce Hannah, L/IDSA
IDSA Education Award: 1998
IDSA Individual Achievement Award: 2022

Bruce Hannah is one of the great industrial designers and educators, as well as a forceful advocate for design, design education, and design students. 

He graduated from Pratt Institute in 1963 and went on to teach at Pratt for more than 50 years, joining the Industrial Design Department as a professor in the early 1970s. He later became chair of the ID department and, after retiring in 2015, was named Professor Emeritus.  

Hannah began collaborating on seating for Knoll in the late 1960s, and the year 1976 saw the creation of The Hannah Desk System, Takara Dental Chairs, Falcon Stacking Chairs, and the original patented Keyboard Support. In 1990, the Hannah Desk System was awarded “Design of the Decade” by IDSA.  

Hannah’s other notable honors include being the first Designer in Residence at Cooper Hewitt - National Design Museum in 1992; receiving the Bronze Apple from the New York Chapter of IDSA in 1993, for the first national design conference on Universal Design; and earning the Federal Presidential Design Achievement Award in 2000 for the iconic "Unlimited by Design” exhibit he co-designed.  

For his significant contributions to industrial design education, Hannah received IDSA’s Education Award in 1998 and the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award in 2003. Hannah helped to form the Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt, to preserve and promote the pedagogy she developed through an annual awards program, scholarships for students, and the publication of Elements by Design.  

Hannah continues to make a difference—talking with students, giving lectures, starting a foundation to remember the work of William Katavolos, and creating a podcast, “Design Mysteries with Bruce Hannah.” 

"He is certainly an important part of the history of Industrial Design, the teaching at Pratt Institute, and the industry as a whole,” says Yvette Chaparro, a former master's student at Pratt and now Assistant Professor and Director of the MFA in Industrial Design program at Parsons School of Design. “His voice continues to be relevant to this day.”