The Perfect Setting Posted December 1, 2006 by Daniel Ostroff

This could be an ad for an Eames chair, but it’s actually a detail shot of the central image in an advertisement in the December 2006 Elle Decor for Oneida Flatware.

Instead of looking at the flatware, let’s take a look at the history of this Eames Chair featured in the background of the complete ad, seen below.

Charles and Ray were the designers for the Museum of Modern Art’s first Good Design exhibition, described in this press release from January 16, 1950: “A spectacular showing of more than 250 home furnishings objects of modern design were put on display today when the ‘Good Design’ exhibition, sponsored by The Museum of Modern Art of New York and The Merchandise Mart of Chicago, was officially opened…”

“The objects put on display are the products of many of America’s most progressive manufacturers and handicrafters and range from a new magnetized soap holder to a huge modern 12-foot divan with adjustable legs. Many of the objects shown were created by some of America’s foremost designers, including such names as Edward Wormley, Dorothy Liebes, J. O. Reinecke and Charles Eames. Eames, assisted by his wife Ray, also designed the space for the exhibition.

“The entire exhibition is exuberant and fresh, and according to Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., director of ‘Good Design’, it is the first attempt ever made to present a permanent showing of the best new modern products in the field of home furnishings that are available to consumers. All home furnishings are included such as furniture, rugs, lamps, appliances, housewares and fabrics.

“All the objects in the showing were chosen by the selection committee, which was composed of Kaufmann; Meyric Rogers, curator of decorative arts of the Chicago Art Institute, and Alexander Girard…”

There are some interesting facts in the “List of Objects Exhibited.” Of the thirty-three items of “Furniture,” eight were designed by the Eames Office. Runner up for most furniture designs in the exhibition was Edward J. Wormley, with six. Charles and Ray increase their lead when Fabrics are taken into account. “Crosspatch” by Ray Eames was included. The Eames products emphasized economy, durability, usefulness, and beauty. In particular, they were positioned to be very affordable, making it hard to compare Eames and Wormley designs.

Below is the ad in its entirety.