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680 Dining Chair - Prototype Upholstery 1

Ray Eames, Charles Eames


This dining chair prototype was made at the Eames Office in 1962, several years after the Eames Aluminum Group had been put into production. It uses the Herman Miller-produced aluminum frame that was already on the market, but tests out a new upholstery material with the hope of solving ongoing problems with the original Saran textile. This reflects the manner in which the Eameses continued to refine their designs even after an item was introduced to consumers. They did so by continuing to test their work and moreover by embracing feedback. The concept of feedback was of broad interest to engineers, mathematicians, architects, designers, and others during the mid-20th century. It served as a central concept in the emergent field of cybernetics, a conceptual and mathematical approach to modeling systems, natural and mechanical, that was developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s and popularized by Norbert Wiener’s 1948 book Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. In 1960, the Eameses distilled the notion of feedback for a popular audience in a short film they created for IBM titled An Introduction to Feedback, in which feedback is described as a “cycle of measuring, evaluating, and correcting” that is both “a science and an art.”

  • Manufacturer: Herman Miller, Inc.
  • Medium:Aluminum, Upholstery ('Milnilo' #3314, #4014), steel, nylon
  • Dimensions:33 x 19 1/2 x 21 1/4 in. (83.8 x 49.5 x 54 cm)Weight: 14 lb. (6.4 kg)
  • Design Date:1958
  • Item:2019.1.38