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Chairs by Charles Eames


By 1954, the Eameses had designed three distinctive systems of furniture for Herman Miller: the molded plywood, molded plastic, and upholstered wire chairs. This postcard, staged and photographed at the Eames Office, features configurations from each of these groups. Clockwise from the upper left, there is a calico ash DCM, a parchment fiberglass PSC (astute observers will note the earliest contract base), an upholstered fiberglass rocking chair (the RAR-1), and an upholstered wire DKR-2 (with the strong and lightweight “Eiffel Tower” base). The postcard’s colorful and distinctively styled vignettes are not only eye-catching but speak to why Ray and Charles Eames conceived of chairs as systems rather than individual products. The variations afforded by different configurations (of overall designs, as well as materials, bases, and upholsteries), offered almost limitless solutions for different purposes, characters, activities, environments, and budgets. To complement each chair design and further establish the distinctive character of the vignettes, Ray and Charles selected “humble materials,” including a tumbleweed, ceramic fish, flower arrangements, fruit, handcrafted wooden toys, and a woven bowl. Everyday goods such as these were a mainstay of the Eames styling vocabulary and offset the modernist mass-produced aesthetic of the chairs with a naturalistic and human spirit.

  • Medium:Printed paper
  • Dimensions:5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (14 x 8.9 cm)
  • Item:A.2019.1.031