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Walnut Stool, 411


This is one of a system of walnut stools originally designed for the Time & Life Building at Rockefeller Center in New York in 1960 and later put into production by Herman Miller. Each stool consists of a short pedestal topped by a shallow bowl, with different combinations of curves and angles supplying additional visual interest. The essential part of the system is that the top and bottoms are standardized shapes that are the same for each of the three designs. Standardized parts save money in manufacturing, a savings which was passed along to the consumers. Notably, these pieces have long been attributed primarily to Ray. This distinguishes them from other Eames furniture designs, which for many years were attributed either exclusively to Charles or to the Eames Office as a whole. However, as Pat Kirkham has argued, the stools’ connection to the craft of woodworking means that crediting Ray with their design can also result in reinforcing gendered stereotypes linking women to craft. Thus, it is important to pair this attribution with an insistence on acknowledging Ray’s vital and consistent contributions to Eames furniture more broadly. Ray herself resisted efforts to ascribe the design of these stools to her, because that implied that Ray had nothing to do with the other furniture designs. Ray said the most challenging part of designing these stools was making a top that was deep enough to make for a comfortable seat, but not so deep that you couldn’t balance a cup of coffee on it.

  • Manufacturer: Herman Miller, Inc.
  • Medium:Walnut
  • Dimensions:15 x 13 x 13 in. (38.1 x 33 x 33 cm)Weight: 14 lb. (6.4 kg)
  • Design Date:1960
  • Item:2019.1.13