Most of us would approach our work with a sense of appreciation for a pay cheque. It is the luxury of a few to be ready for the working day, knowing that the challenges within it invigorate and somehow bring us alive. Ray and Charles certainly had that luxury, even though they worked hard and were so prolific in the body of work they created. When they approached a project with their team there would be certain questions asked: ‘Does it interest or intrigue us? Can we make it better? Can we have fun doing it?’
What do you get when you put artistic problem solvers, who aren’t afraid of failure, in a room together? An outstanding product that breaks boundaries. When you add into the mix a focus on the human connection and thoughtful consideration of need, you get an Eames product.
The Herman Miller black leather aluminium group chair and soft pad office chair are a breath of fresh air to the work place. Designed in 1958, this product—like their others—broke the mould in terms of process. Well-versed in the use of plywood and plastic their focus shifted this time to the use of aluminium and fabric. It wasn’t their first use of metal; the practice perhaps came from creating the wire base for chairs in 1951, but this was the first time that aluminium brackets were used to hold the fabric, thus creating the shell. This shell—completely different in concept from what had gone before it—was just as comfortable, flexible and appealing to the eye as everything that had been invented by Charles. The adjustable castor base, simplicity of filigree profile and leather upholstery make this a perfect luxury item for any office. It’s difficult to believe that these chairs originally started their life as indoor and outdoor chairs. One would like to think they should be protected behind a desk in our homes or offices.
Aluminium was always in the running to be the material of choice due to its durability, lightness, resistance to corrosion and capacity to carry a load. Although the frame may have remained the same, the weather resistant seat fabric was updated to soft and luxurious leather, which we all know only gets better with age.
A long standing relationship with Herman Miller meant that Eames’ creations were produced and shipped from the Herman Miller factory in the United States from the late 1950s.
It is easy to see that the love of inventing and connection flowed into every item. There was the goal to make people feel comfortable while they worked—it was as simple as that, and to be honest, it should be that simple. You also have to admit though that the chair looks pretty awesome, from any angle, and although it doesn’t have to make you feel better about working for your pay cheque, we wouldn’t hold it against you if you did.