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Western Dining at the Nut Tree (Variant 3)


Located in Vacaville, California, on Interstate 80, the Nut Tree originated as a fruit stand in 1921 and by the mid-century had evolved to become a landmark roadside destination for travelers between the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. As Diane Power Zimmerman explains in Nut Tree: From a California Ranch to a Design, Food, and Hospitality Icon, “for seventy-five years, Nut Tree defined Western food, mid-century design, and cutting-edge hospitality.” In the process of redesigning their business, Nut Tree founders Helen and Ed “Bunny” Power became huge admirers of Ray and Charles Eames, and even decorated their nearby home entirely with Herman Miller furniture. The dining rooms of the restaurant followed suit, making use of over 100 elephant hide grey Eames molded fiberglass armchairs. Designing a chair that could hold up visually in such great quantities was exactly the sort of ruminative exercise the Eames Office specialized in. As Charles would later remark in 1975, “’You can stand it now, but could you stand it if you saw 50 in a row?’ This is a very brutal question. Because very often you can do a thing which will stand up as one of a kind, but God help you if you do more than five or six.”

  • Medium:Printed paper
  • Dimensions:3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
  • Item:A.2019.1.050