Davis Allen was one of a handful of talented individuals responsible for the elevation of interior design in post-World War II America. Educated at Brown University, the Kungliga Tekniska in Sweeden, and Yale University, Allen went on to work at the Knoll Planning Unit and the architecture firm of Harrison and Abramowitz, which served as master planners for the United Nations and Lincoln Center, among other sites. Allen was the longtime director of interiors for the architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and was elected to the Interior Design Hall of Fame.
He designed furniture for Steelcase, GF, Stow Davis, Bernhardt, Stendig and Hickory Business Furniture. In 1983, Allen designed the Andover Chair for Stendig International. The chair became a staple in many corporate interiors, especially those designed by SOM. Unfortunately Stendig went out of business, leading many designers to greatly miss the Andover Chair. Recognizing the appeal, Knoll reintroduced the popular design as the Exeter Chair in 1993.