The Time-Life Building Lobby



When George Nelson asked Charles and Ray Eames to help design the U.S. Pavilion at the American Exhibition in Moscow in 1959, they needed to work fast. Charles called upon Henry Luce, chairman of Time-Life, to ask if he could use the company’s vast archive of images for a film he and Ray planned to make for the exhibition. Luce’s only condition was that Charles would return the favor one day.

A year after the exhibition in Moscow, which was a great success, featuring an impressive Eames multiscreen slideshow, Luce called to ask the Eames Office to design the lobby for the executive floors of his new building.

The Office created the basic elements of the lobby including a solid walnut reception desk, matching case goods, and a display bookshelf. Charles and Ray also responded with the Eames Executive Chair, in both lobby and desk versions, and solid walnut stools, which are still in production today from Herman Miller and Vitra.

Historic Documents

  • Time Life Building Supplement The New York Times