It’s now considered a masterpiece of the modern design world – perhaps even one of its most recognizable items – but in 1956 the Herman Miller Lounge Chair was “quite a departure.” Here it is featured for the first time on national television, making its debut on NBC’s “Home” show with Arlene Francis. There to introduce the chair are none other than designers Charles and Ray Eames.
More than a simple introduction for the chair, Charles runs us through some of the couple’s previous designs – examples which had already made them household names around the country. We are also treated to a look around the Eames’ Case Study House which they had moved into in 1949 and where they spent the remainder of their lives (Charles briefly mentions this film about the house, then showing at the Museum of Modern Art).
In retrospect, the television clip is notable for something besides design too: Arlene Francis helped pioneer women on television, being one of the first to host a program that was not musical or dramatic in nature. Here she navigates a world before women’s lib, clearly discounting the important roll of Ray Eames as she supported her “husbands work.” It was a different time, but one which has greatly influenced us even today.