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The Nut Tree Plaza

c. 1962

As this postcard attests, to take full advantage of California’s mild climate, the outdoor spaces at the Nut Tree restaurant were as thoughtfully considered as the indoor restaurant and gift shop. Here at the Nut Tree Plaza, customers could enjoy their “unusual Hot Dog plates” while seated in the latest design by Ray and Charles Eames, the Indoor/Outdoor Group—or, as it would later be renamed, the Aluminum Group. The chairs were originally designed at the behest of Alexander Girard for use on the outdoor verandas of the Eero Saarinen–designed J. Irwin Miller House in Columbus, Indiana. It was not at all unusual for the Eameses and Herman Miller to initiate a design for such a specific use—especially if friends like Saarinen and Girard were involved. As they developed the design, they were guided by the notion that if they solved the problem successfully and to the best of their abilities, it would naturally find applications elsewhere. In the case of the Aluminum Group, which has been in continuous production since 1958 and sold in greater quantities than any other Eames design, their instinct proved to be well-founded. The chairs pictured here likely date from 1958 or 1959, as evidenced by the earliest variation of the chair’s base, and the outdoor upholstery consisting of a synthetic waterproof textile called Saran.

  • Medium:Printed paper
  • Dimensions:3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
  • Item:A.2019.1.045