Monday, March 13, 2006

Herman Miller to mark the 50th anniversary of the Eames chair and ottoman, collector’s editions will be sold beginning in May.

Herman Miller Eames chair and ottoman

Few items of furniture are as instantly recognizable as the Eames chair and ottoman, perhaps the only chair to make its debut on live television.

Now, 50 years after it was introduced on “The Today Show,” Charles and Ray Eames’ leather-and-rosewood lounge is being reissued in a limited collector’s edition.

For a $6,500 donation at EamesFoundation.org, mid-century modern aficionados can buy the molded plywood chair in Santos Palisander, a sustainable rosewood. Originally, most Eames chairs were made of endangered rosewood Rio Palisander; manufacturer Herman Miller discontinued its use and switched to walnut and cherry.

The new chair set will be available at retail for around $4,000 starting in May.

Money raised from the collector’s edition will help maintain the Eames house museum in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

The Eameses (he died in 1978, she in 1988) were among the most influential architect/designers of the mid-20th century as advocates for the then-unprecedented idea that low-cost, high-quality modern design could be appreciated by the American masses.

The Eames chair immediately found its way into the homes and corner offices of millions of striving Americans and, eventually, the Seattle living room of NBC’s “Frasier” and the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

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