Dale Fahnstrom is former director of IIT Institute of Design and was on the faculty from 1966 to 2011. His focus was working with individual students on human-centered product design and development projects. Dale was co-principal investigator on a $431,000 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grant to explore informal learning environments in libraries resulting in a project called ThinkeringSpace.
He has designed products for such diverse corporate clients as Knoll International, Philips Electronics N.V., Steelcase, Brayton International, Vecta Contract, and NEC Technologies, Inc.. His Bulldog Chair, designed with Michael McCoy and introduced in 1990 by Knoll, was the largest-selling seating product in the manufacturer’s line throughout the 1990s. Both his individual work and projects through his partnership in Fahnstrom/McCoy have won numerous design awards including a Best of Category Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) and a Japan Design The Future Competition 2nd Prize. His early work in packaging design is featured in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Professor Fahnstrom received the first Midwest Honors Educators Achievement Award from the Midwest Chapter of the IDSA in spring 2007.
Now retired from ID, he continues his interest in designing environmentally responsible products. His RecycleDesign line of outdoor public seating and site amenities integrates plastics and metals reclaimed from the public waste stream and are installed in park, city, and corporate landscape spaces throughout the United States. A bench sample is in the collection of The Design Museum, London, and the line received a Good Design award in 1996.
He is currently principal of Dale Fahnstrom Product Design with a current focus on indoor/ outdoor casual furniture. He is also partner in the consulting firm of Fahnstrom/White.