Miniature Aluminium Chair

Charles & Ray Eames, 1958

The furniture making up the indoor-outdoor group goes back to an idea by Alexander Girard and Eero Saarinen, who were looking for furnishings to harmonize with the house they had just completed for Irvin Miller. Girard, one of whose interests as an architect was landscape gardening, complained that though there was a good choice of furniture for interiors, there was nothing to grace attractive patios – and no decent garden furniture. Charles Eames became preoccupied with this problem until one day during a flight he came up with the idea of an aluminium frame construction combined with a material »seat«. He wanted to develop a shape following the natural lines of the body, not however as a hard shell, but as a resilient length of material stretched between two supports which trace the body's natural form. A narrow plastic strip extending the length of the material acts as reinforcement. The material is held in place by insertion into slits on the frame's outer edge. Experiments with different covering materials later resulted in an upholstered sandwich construction consisting of two layers of »Nauga hide« with a thin filling of vinyl-foam and vinylwadding stitched at intervals of 1 7/8 inches using a high-frequency welding technique. Originally conceived for outside use, the first aluminium easy chairs to be mass produced, are today used solely in interiors.

Scale 1:6

Material: Polished cast aluminum, leather

Manufacturers of the full-scale 1:1 model since 1958 Herman Miller Furniture Company, Zeeland/Michigan, www.hermanmiller.com and Vitra AG, Basel/Switzerland, www.vitra.com

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