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Outdoor Furnishings

Crafted for work and play using the same design philosophy as our interior pieces and prepped to withstand
the elements.
View outdoor offering

Awards

  • Herman Miller wins a Best of NeoCon Innovation Award for its re-engineering of the Eames Aluminum Group chairs.
    2012

What's In It For You

Eames Aluminum Group Outdoor Chair

Product Story

Originally developed as an outdoor chair for the Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard-designed home of industrialist J. Irwin Miller, the Eames Aluminum Group offers maximum comfort with a minimal profile. Newly updated versions of the lounge chair, side chair, and ottoman with a range of highly durable finish options including Outdoor Weave fabric, the Aluminum Group Lounge Chair, Side Chair, and Ottoman are once again ready to go back to their roots—outdoors.

Eames Aluminum Group Outdoor Chair

Take It Outside

To ready the chairs and ottoman for outdoor use, we developed a new fabric that would be durable enough to weather the elements and still feel good against the skin when you’re wearing a bathing suit. Designed by materials consultant Susan Lyons, Outdoor Weave retains the spirit of the original 1958 polyester saran and builds off the technical capabilities of the Aeron chair's Pellicle suspension fabric. Outdoor Weave combines a sturdy monofilament polypropylene for strength and elasticity, with four multifilament polypropylene yarns to give it a great look and feel. It's also recyclable and contains no harmful PVC. It is available in four tones selected to complement the white and graphite satin powder-coated frames.

Eames Aluminum Group Outdoor Chair

Creative Craft

The assembly of the Eames Aluminum Group Outdoor is as crucial an element of its design as how it feels to sit in. The Eameses not only designed each element of the chairs and ottoman, but also the process by which they are crafted. We do it the same way today as it was done in 1958.

A continuous piece of Outdoor Weave is fed between the aluminum ribs which are then turned inside out and attached to the cross members. Because of this process, the chair offers considerable comfort and support without any of the bulk or weight of a traditional upholstered chair. The fabric itself becomes the seat, with a firm, flexible "sitting pocket" that conforms subtly to the body's shape.

Eames Aluminum Group Outdoor Ottoman

Durability and Use

With one-piece, curved aluminum side ribs and a die-cast aluminum base, the chair is strong, yet lightweight and easy to move (thanks to the upper cross member that doubles as a handle).

Available with or without arms, the Eames Aluminum Group Side Chair Outdoor is suitable for any location where a dining-height chair is called for and naturally complements our range of Eames Tables Outdoor.

The Eames Aluminum Group Lounge Chair Outdoor pairs perfectly with the matching Eames Aluminum Group Ottoman, or you can cluster multiple chairs around a low table for an informal sitting area.

Eames Aluminum Group Outdoor Chair

Earth-Friendly

All Aluminum Group chairs are made of 64% recycled materials and are 95% recyclable at the end of their useful life.

Design Story

In 1953, the industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his wife, Xenia, commissioned a remarkable modernist triumvirate to create their home in Columbus, Indiana: Eero Saarinen designed the building, Alexander Girard masterminded the interiors, and Dan Kiley handled the landscape architecture. Noting a dearth of viable outdoor furnishings, in 1957 Girard turned to his friends Charles and Ray Eames. Within a year, the Aluminum Group Chairs were in production at Herman Miller.

Always looking to new industries and materials that could be suitably translated to the design of furniture, the Eameses turned to a material that was becoming ubiquitous in postwar America: aluminum. The major challenge aluminum posed was one of form. "When you've committed yourself to casting, you've committed yourself to a plastic material and the kind of freedom that can really give you the willies," Charles Eames told Interiors magazine in 1958. "At that moment you find yourself face to face with sculpture, and it can scare the pants off you."

The Eameses arrived at a design calling for a fabric seat slung between two aluminum Ls, themselves held in tension by two cross-braces (referred to as "antlers" by the designers). In the chair's earliest incarnation, a polyester saran covering (developed with Girard's textiles division at Herman Miller) was employed so that the chair could be used outdoors. The plastic fabric was tripled in the high tension areas to prevent sagging and rolled neatly at the termination points of the chair. Despite the designers' best efforts, the new material did not properly weather the elements or stand up to heavy use, and the Aluminum Group soon moved indoors and evolved to include a diverse range of variations.

Today the chairs and ottoman have been reengineered for outdoor use with durable materials and finish options. Materials consultant Susan Lyons developed a new fabric, Outdoor Weave, that synthesizes the look and feel of the original saran by building on the yarn and weaving technology pioneered with the Aeron chair's Pellicle fabric. Unlike many outdoor fabrics, Outdoor Weave contains no PVC and will hold its shape and color over time. White and graphite satin outdoor powder-coat frames, and a return to a 4-star base, complete the update.

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