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Chicago–O’Hare International Airport


In the late 1950s as the post-war homebuilding boom eased and sales of residential furniture cooled, Herman Miller undertook several different initiatives to attempt to expand and diversify its business. One of these efforts, the Special Products Division, was created to develop products based on specific market opportunities—and more specifically, two separate, but concurrent requests for airport seating that had recently been conveyed to the organization. Architect Eero Saarinen was looking for sturdy and attractive public seating for his newest project, Dulles Airport near Washington, DC; and, in Chicago, C.F. Murphy Associates, the architects of two new terminals opening at O’Hare, were searching for seating that would be easy to maintain and repair. Building on earlier efforts to mount seats onto a beam structure, and the aluminum construction and sling-seating concept developed for the Aluminum Group, the Eameses designed a modular beam-based system of interchangeable seat and table units, with Naugahyde seat and back pads that could be easily replaced on-site (and, in an earlier era of travel, remain impervious to cigarette burns). Pictured in its original configuration on this postcard of O’Hare’s waiting room lobby Terminal #2, ETS, or Eames Tandem Seating, has been in continuous production ever since, and remains the gold standard for airport seating.

  • Medium:Printed paper
  • Dimensions:3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
  • Item:A.2022.I.006