Conversation Piece: Saarinen and Eames’ Organic Chair
Aesthetically arresting, sculpted into pleasing curves that match the body’s natural contours, the Organic Chair by the dream team duo of Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen has been at the forefront of Modern design for nearly 80 years.
Formulated as an entry for the New York Museum of Modern Art’s “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition, the bent plywood Organic Chair is a deceptively simple, lightweight engineering achievement that presaged the age of mass-market manufacturing.
The Organic Chair debuted in 1940; however, it was about a decade ahead of its time—modern manufacturing techniques didn’t catch up with it until around 1950. From then on, it became possible to duplicate “organic” shapes of seat shells, making the piece available in mass-market quantities.
Not only did the Organic Chair offer the average consumer an opportunity to obtain a seminal piece of design, it also innovated the aesthetics of furniture—the open back/seat gave it a compelling look while also reducing use of materials and keeping weight to a minimum.
In this new millennium, the Organic Chair is available courtesy of Vitra. If you’d like to obtain your very own, check out the manufacturer’s configurator, enabling you to choose the style (standard, conference, or high-back); upholstery color; and leg material.
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