Charles Eames famously said: "The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests." Most of the designs that came out of the Eames Office achieved that goal—of suiting a requirement and solving a problem. But what is perhaps most remarkable about his and Ray’s 1950 design for the Eames Shell Chair is just how many needs they were able to meet in a single, gracious form. What makes the Shell Chair so beloved is its universality and adaptability—its quality of being at home in museum collections, living rooms, Laundromats, lobbies, and cafés. Over the last couple of months at WHY, we’ve been celebrating the Shell Chair in all its iterations and sharing those stories and the stories of other Eames enthusiasts, while exploring the ways in which we’re continuing to honor the designers’ legacy with the latest additions to the Shell Chair collection. After all, the Shell Chair is an inextricable part of our DNA at Herman Miller—it’s why the company has a longstanding tradition of giving every employee an Eames Shell Chair Rocker when they welcome a new family member into their home. For our series finale, we’ve commissioned animator Bill Porter to sketch out how a single chair can touch so many parts of one’s life—and how so many small moments can sometimes add up to our greatest. Just like every person, every chair has a story.
Written by: Amber Bravo
Video by: Bill Porter
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