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Walnut Stool, 412


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 produced by Herman Miller. With a furniture system, certain parts are standardized, which results in lower cost of manufacturing, and a cost savings that can be passed along to the consumer. The top and bottom of each stool is the same; what’s different from stool to stool is the middle section, each with a different shape. Each stool consists of a short pedestal topped by a shallow bowl, with different combinations of curves and angles supplying additional visual interest. They were designed as one part of a larger commission— in 1960 the Eames Office was tasked with designing three lobbies in the new Time & Life building, and the stools accompanied a luxurious office chair also created for the project, later modified and retailed as the Eames Executive Chair. At first glance, the wooden stools may seem at odds with the aluminum-and-leather chairs, yet the Eameses often embraced juxtaposition in interior design, and Ray’s skills in decorative arrangement brought cohesion to diverse materials and styles on countless occasions. Moreover, in some ways the stools were just as “modern” as the chairs; though their appearance calls to mind the handcraft of woodworking, they were machine-made and mass-produced. This fact of their production, along with their simple geometric forms, undoubtedly qualifies them as “modern.” Ray once said that the challenge of making these stools was to make the depression on the top and bottom surface 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:2019.1.14