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Side Rail 1


Every Eames Aluminum Group chair features two aluminum side rails that establish its silhouette and provide structural support. A different shape is used for each model, and the various side rails’ distinct angles of curvature allow for a range of seated postures across the collection, from upright to reclined. Developing these specialized forms required a great deal of experimentation, and after first producing prototypes in wood, the staff of the Eames Office worked with steel. This is an example of one such steel prototype, made in the process of developing the reclining chair’s side rails. Steel was used at this point in the design process because it was more readily available and less expensive than aluminum, making it an attractive option for early attempts. This prototype was fabricated using hands-on processes like bending, hammering, and welding, which lend themselves to ongoing assessment and adjustment. This allowed the team to finalize the form before moving on to aluminum casting, at which point even minor modifications would have been expensive and time-consuming. Yet steel is also significantly heavier and bulkier than aluminum, which means the designers had to account for the fact that their steel prototypes were only rough approximations of the more refined forms they aimed to achieve in aluminum.

  • Medium:Steel
  • Dimensions:18 x 28 x 3/4 in. (45.7 x 71.1 x 1.9 cm)
  • Item:P.2019.2.3.1