Charles Eames said, “Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” It’s a quote several interns took seriously last year when John Aldrich, our VP of New Product Development, asked them to experiment with one of the most recognizable Eames designs—tandem sling seating.
You’ve probably seen it before. Designed for O’Hare International Airport in 1962, the sleek, contemporary design remains in style for all kinds of public waiting areas, especially airport terminals.
However, as airports continue to update their facilities with trendy shops and an increasing number of dining options, the challenge to find electrical outlets to recharge cellular devices, tablets, and laptops remains the same.
After meeting Charles Eames’ grandson, Eames Demetrios, Director of the Eames Office, the interns received his support for moving forward with adding electrical outlets to the tandem seating design.
“Respecting and maintaining the aesthetic of the Eames chair was the overall goal for the project and with John Berry’s insight we were able to honor that,” says Andrea Nelson, who recently received a master’s degree in Interior Architecture and Product Design from Kansas State University.
After testing and monitoring the use of their designs for four days at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the team knew it was something special. And the airport facilities team also liked the idea, says Nelson.
The team now is refining their ideas, but has established that it will place the outlets between the seat and back.
Adds Aldrich, “It’s a premium product, so it deserves a premium design.”
Intern project team:
Andrea Nelson, Kansas State University
Anthony Herrera, Grand Valley State University
Jane Zhang, Auburn University
Adam Koehler, Kettering University
Jacqueline Xu, Thunderbird University
Brian Chuang, University of Michigan
Jep Cohen, Rose-Hulman
Update: This solution is currently in development and is not commercially available.