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The Ever-Evolving Eames Aluminum Group

Carved Base Antler 3


A key conceptual feature of the Eames Aluminum Group is the pair of aluminum spreaders that hold the upholstery taut between two aluminum side members. These spreaders create the necessary tension for transforming fabric into a supportive seat and backrest. Dubbed “antlers” by the Eames Office staff thanks to their distinctive shape, one spreader is located midway up the chair’s back and doubles as a handle. The other is located underneath the seat and serves both to stretch the textile and to attach the body of the chair to its base. The spreaders are not merely supplementary support for the aluminum side members, but actually create the tension essential to the design concept. This becomes evident from the assembly procedure: in order for the spreaders to be attached to the frame, the seating pads had to be forcefully stretched lengthwise. Eames Aluminum Group manufacturer Herman Miller accomplished most of this stretching with an automotive jack, but even so the insertion process was finished by using a hard wooden dowel to wedge the antler into place. This part of the assembly process conveys just how much tensile force the fabric of an Eames Aluminum Group chair is under. It also indicates the degree to which the spreaders themselves needed to be able to withstand significant force.

  • Medium:Wood
  • Dimensions:5 11/16 x 19 x 6 1/16 in. (14.4 x 48.3 x 15.4 cm)
  • Item:P.2019.2.5.6