In 1957, when Alexander Girard noted a dearth of viable
outdoor furnishings for his J. Irwin Miller house project in
Columbus, Indiana, he turned to his friends Charles and
Ray Eames, who responded with the Aluminum Group
Chair. Having mastered bent plywood and fiberglass, the
Eameses once again turned to a common material to
produce uncommon results.
Aluminum posed a design challenge in terms of its
plasticity—the possibilities for shapes were limitless.
By imposing their own constraints, the Eameses eventually
arrived at a design that used only a modicum of materials
to produce the maximum amount of comfort. They achieved
this by suspending a fabric seat between two aluminum Ls,
themselves held in tension by two cross-braces (referred
to as “antlers” by the designers).
Known as the “Indoor Outdoor Group” when it premiered
in 1958, the Aluminum Group featured a polyester saran
covering that could weather the elements (developed
while Girard was head of the textiles division at Herman
Miller). Newly updated with Outdoor Weave fabric, a
redesigned and reengineered material that resembles
and improves upon the original, the Aluminum Group once
again returns to its early premise as indoor and outdoor
furniture, and adds a graceful profile everywhere people
work, play, and live.