Design, What's Up
November 26, 2012
How would you describe the Eames Lounge and Ottoman? For Charles Eames, the chair invoked the “warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s glove.” Composed of tufted-leather cushions and richly grained molded-plywood shells, the chair has been seen by others as a modern interpretation of a traditional English club chair.
Introduced in 1956, the Eames lounge and ottoman has become an icon of design—an icon built to last. Combining high-quality materials and craftsmanship, Charles and Ray Eames designed the chair to withstand the rigors of everyday life. And, much like Charles’ baseball glove, the lounge and ottoman only gets better with use.
If you’re interested in designs built to last, be sure to visit the HermanMiller Store or authorized retailer to shop the Herman Miller Sale. Save 15 percent on classics like the Eames Lounge and Ottoman, now until December 10, 2012.
Design, Products, What's Up
July 23, 2012
For more than 60 years, the Eames Lounge Chair has been an American icon made in West Michigan by local people. Using a process that has changed little since 1956—molded plywood shells formed under heat and pressure, finished by hand, upholstered with leather cushions, and then carefully assembled—workers merge machine manufacturing with the human touch of handcraftsmanship.
A recent trip to the Herman Miller archives uncovered some photos documenting the production of the Eames Lounge in the early 1960s. Visit the HermanMiller Store to see how the process is similar today.
Better World, Design
August 8, 2011
Charles Eames had been explicit with Herman Miller executives when the lounge chair that would bear his name was being developed: it had to be made of rosewood, a wood treasured for its rich color and personality. Unfortunately in the decades since the chair’s introduction, the massive Brazilian rosewood trees that supplied the veneer were disappearing, and slash-and-burn methods of clearing tropical rainforest were endangering an entire ecosystem. This created a dilemma: Do we ruin a wonder of modern design or a wonder of nature?
Nature won, and in 1991 we ceased using rosewood. It was a decision supported by Ray Eames, Charles’ design partner.
In 2006, the Eames lounge and ottoman recaptured its original appearance with the introduction of Santos Palisander, a sustainable species of Bolivian rosewood harvested from well-managed, certified forests. Santos Palisander closely resembles the aesthetic of the original Brazilian rosewood that Charles had insisted was integral to his design.
Almost 60 years ago, Herman Miller founder D.J. De Pree defined a key company value when he stated, “We will be a good steward of the environment.” Since then we have worked hard and taken great pride in making sure that nature wins. The discontinuation of rosewood and the subsequent introduction of Santos Palisander is just one example. To learn more about our journey to become an environmental leader, please check out Merchants of Virtue, coming soon.