CHARLES & RAY EAMES LOUNGE CHAIR (670) WITH OTTOMAN (671) FOR HERMAN MILLER
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An icon of mid-century modern furniture, this pairing was designed by Charles and Ray Eames for HERMAN MILLER in 1956. Frustrated by complaints that modern furniture wasn't comfortable, the Eameses set out to prove the critics wrong. They succeeded in spectacular fashion with the 670 and 671 lounge chair and ottoman. The design came about during an era of spare minimalism, but Charles insisted on building a chair with "the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt." Wife Ray wrote in a letter to Charles that the chair looked "comfortable and un-designy." High praise. The first set produced was presented to the Eameses' good friend, film director Billy Wilder. An instant hit with consumers, the 670 and 671 have been in continuous production since their introduction over 60 years ago. Other options have been available, but this black leather and rosewood combination will always be the classic choice. (Only available on the secondary market since 1992, when a ban on the import of rosewood, an endangered species, went into effect.) Part of the permanent collection of MoMA in New York City.
CHARLES & RAY EAMES were an American married team of industrial designers whose creativity and drive helped to shape America's 20th century. Their lives and work represented many of the most defining developments of the period: the West Coast's coming-of-age, the shift from making goods to producing information, the global reach of American culture. The Eameses saw modern design as an agent of social change; their evolution from furniture designers to cultural ambassadors speaks not only to their boundless talent but also to an overlap between their interests and the national agenda. In a time of uniquely shared objectives, they partnered with the federal government and top businesses to lead the charge to modernize post-war America. (No need to belabor the well-recorded story of their enduring contribution. Suffice it to say that American mid-century design would not have been what it was without their tremendous gifts.)
The Eames' relationship with manufacturer HERMAN MILLER began in the late 40's and went on to become perhaps the most legendary collaborative effort ever known in the modern furniture industry, as the sheer wealth of their design output attests.
HERMAN MILLER was founded in 1905 as the Star Furniture Co. in Zeeland, a town in western Michigan near Grand Rapids. Zeeland had been settled primarily by Dutch immigrants, many of whom handed down a legacy of skill in crafting fine furniture. By 1900, Grand Rapids and its environs had become a hub for furniture production. In 1919, Dirk Jan ("DJ") De Pree, who began with Star as a clerk, became its president (when it was renamed the Michigan Star Furniture Co.). De Pree and his father-in-law, Herman Miller, along with a small group of local businessmen, purchased 51% of the company stock in 1923 and renamed it HERMAN MILLER.
The company had historically been a manufacturer of high-end, traditional style home furnishings, modifications of European designs. With the coming of the Great Depression, De Pree was forced to consider new products to survive in a shrinking market. In 1931 he was approached by the industrial designer Gilbert Rohde, who reportedly entered the showroom unannounced. De Pree listened to Rohde's ideas and, attracted by his straightforward approach, hired him to design a new line of furniture for HERMAN MILLER. Rohde speculated that the decreasing size of modern homes would inspire a demand for a smaller, simpler, and lighter furniture style that De Pree referred to as "more honest" than that of traditional pieces. So began the transformation of HERMAN MILLER from a producer of historical furniture designs to the modern furniture juggernaut they would become.
HERMAN MILLER debuted its new line of modern furniture at the Century of Progress exposition in Chicago. In 1941, the company opened a showrooms in Chicago and New York City. Under Rohde's supervision HERMAN MILLER entered the office furniture market in 1942 with the introduction of the modular 'Executive Office Group' (EOG). Rohde died in 1944 and was replaced by architect George Nelson, who joined the firm as its director of design in 1945. Nelson was to have an enormous influence upon HERMAN MILLER, not only for his personal design contributions, but also for the talented designers he recruited to its ranks, including; Isamu Noguchi, Charles and Ray Eames, Robert Propst, and textile designer Alexander Girard. HERMAN MILLER incorporated in 1960 and is in business to this day as one of the top producers of office furniture in the world.
Who ever said that pleasure wasn't functional? – CHARLES & RAY EAMES
Design Year – 1956
Production Period – 1970-1979
Country of Origin – USA
Designer – CHARLES & RAY EAMES
Maker – HERMAN MILLER
Materials – ROSEWOOD, LEATHER, ALUMINUM
Condition – VERY GOOD (no defects; may show slight traces of use)
Height (in.) – 33.0
Seat Height (in.) – 16.0
Width (in.) – 32.5
Depth (in.) – 33.0