Soft Seating

***Soft Seating 670 1956_Page_1In 1956, when the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman were introduced, the Eames Office created this promotional brochure for Herman Miller.

The cover photo brings to mind a story of the development of this design. Charles invited his friend, Hollywood producer Billy Wilder, to the office to “test it” by sitting down and reading a script. Charles came back a few hours later and Wilder said, apologetically, “I’m so sorry, I fell asleep.” Charles replied, “That’s good.”

Instead of promoting its celebrated appearance, Charles and Ray focused on the practical aspects of the Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman, which they numbered, 1 through 9.

    1. 1. Back cushions of feather and down snap on and off for cleaning, are interchangeable from top to bottom.


    1. 2. Back connections of cast aluminum finished black baked enamel with polished outer surfaces.


    1. 3. Seat cushion of feather and down over foam rubber core is removable and can be reversed front to back.


    1. 4. Five point “star” base of cast aluminum finished black with polished upper surfaces to take scuffing, occupies minimum space and offers maximum support.


    1. 5. Stainless steel glides in rubber mounts protect floor surfaces, make chair easily movable.


    1. 6. Pivot base permits chair to be turned in any direction for greater flexibility of use.


    1. 7. Molded plywood shells are of selected rosewood.


    1. 8. Arms are made of foam rubber padding on formed sheet steel core, covered in same material as cushions.


  1. 9. Shells are connected one to another by means of special rubber shock mounts to form a single resilient structure.

***Soft Seating 670 1956_Page_2

Ray once observed that the Eames practice involved “the consideration of everything.” With this chair, they considered ease of cleaning, interchangeability of cushions, floor surfaces, floor space, flexibility of use, support, resilience, and much, much more.

Along with these Eames Office graphics, you can see the original price specifications. Note that the $430 for the Lounge Chair did not include the cost of upholstery material; it only included the chair plus the labor required to upholster it. The Ottoman was sold separately for $175, which also did not include the cost of the upholstery material.