In 1951, less than a year after the landmark Good Design program was initiated by the Chicago Merchandise Mart and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the curator responsible for overseeing that program, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., developed a traveling exhibit for Europe that, according to the MoMA’s press release, included “twenty-five thousand pounds of America home-furnishings.” Amidst the tonnage were some of the most recognizable designs by Ray and Charles Eames, including a molded plastic armchair and ESU storage unit. Design for Use, USA, attracted 60,000 visitors at its first destination of Stuttgart, before traveling onto Zurich, Paris, and London. The exhibit proved hugely influential and arguably kick-started the designer furniture industry in post-war Europe. In the following years, as Herman Miller sought to take advantage of this growing interest in their acclaimed designs, they invested a great deal of energy in finding manufacturing and distribution licensees in foreign markets. By 1958, they had selected different partners for Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. For the latter, they chose Hille, a woman-led company that, like Herman Miller, had once specialized in period replications, but was in the process of shifting to modern furnishings after the war. At some point over the course of Herman Miller’s relationship with Hille (which lasted through 1962, when Herman Miller took co-ownership of its Swiss/German operation and consolidated its European operations), the company decided to repurpose this 1954 postcard designed by Ray and Charles Eames.
- Medium:Printed paper
- Dimensions:5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (14 x 8.9 cm)