DATE - 1938

In 1938, architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen were chosen to collaborate on The Crow Island School, a new institution to be built in Winnetka, Illinois. They asked Charles Eames, who was then running the Industrial Design Department at Eliel’s Cranbrook Academy, to co-design the seating with Eero. 

Additional Information

Charles and Eero devised a stand-alone chair in two sizes for the younger kids and a floor-mounted chair with an attached desk for the older students. The stand-alone chairs were paired with a matching desk, with dowel legs, just like the chair. The seats of all three were made of molded plywood, shaped the only way plywood could be molded at that time, in a linear fashion. The plywood at the top of the chairs curves gently back, and the seats are formed by a curve that bends up at approximately a 90-degree angle. All of the curvatures are done along the length of the plywood from which the chair is formed.

The Crow Island school has long been celebrated as one of the earliest examples of the “International Style” of architecture built in America. Its well-designed environment reflects the child-centered philosophy that is the core of the Winnetka educational experience. The U.S. Department of The Interior designated The Crow Island School as a National Historic Landmark in 1990.

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