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Above the Canopy of a Forest of Steel Trees


IBM’s pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair was one of the Eames Office’s most significant and elaborate commissions of the 1960s. Developed in collaboration with the architectural office of Eero Saarinen (followed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo after Saarinen’s sudden passing in September 1961), the Pavilion’s overall concept was to engage visitors with a series of entertaining experiences that would convey the many applications and uses for computers in the modern world. While the Eames Office focused on the development of the exhibition content, Roche and Dinkeloo tackled the overall site planning and architecture, including the grove of Cor-Ten steel “trees” that formed the base of the pavilion, and the 155-foot-wide “egg” hovering above. Clad with 3000 vacuum-formed iterations of the IBM logo, the ovoid theater was reminiscent of the typing element found in IBM’s latest Selectric typewriters. During the fair’s two six-month runs it’s estimated that some 16,000 people ascended into the theater each day to witness the 22-screen multi-media spectacle the Eames Office had crafted within. Through its organic architecture and playful exhibitions, the pavilion’s stated objective was to “take the curse off the image of the soulless giant computer.”

  • Medium:Printed paper
  • Dimensions:4 1/2 x 8 5/8 in. (11.4 x 21.8 cm)
  • Item:A.2022.I.005