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The Ever-Evolving Eames Aluminum Group

Cast Spreader 1

1957

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. Both spreaders were made of cast aluminum, a metal that has been in use since antiquity but which rose to ubiquity in the 20th century. By the time the Eames Office began work on the Eames Aluminum Group in 1957, the domestic supply of aluminum had increased greatly due to wartime industrial mobilization. This abundant supply contributed to a significant drop in price for the metal, especially after the end of WWII, which meant that aluminum became a fitting material for designers like the Eameses who were concerned with the durability, longevity, and affordability of their products.

  • Medium:Aluminum
  • Dimensions:2 1/2 x 20 x 2 in. (6.4 x 50.8 x 5.1 cm)
  • Item:A.2019.2.P.007