Nelson Swag Leg Armchair
When George Nelson began designing his Nelson™ Swag Leg chair for Herman Miller™ in 1958, he envisioned a sculptural look for the chair’s base that would be made of metal and machine-formed. Nelson found his technical solution in “swagging,” a method of using pressure to taper and curve a metal tube, and engineered an elegant method of joining the four legs into one, tree trunk-like organic shape with a splayed base.
For the chair shell, Nelson got permission from Charles and Ray Eames to use their patented process for molding plastic, and created a chair with separate seat and back shells to let the chair back flex as the sitter moves, and allow air to circulate to prevent heat build-up. The resulting chair was a triumph of design that was comfortable, functional and aesthetically pleasing, equally at home in living rooms, dining rooms and home offices. Its design features include:
- Shells made of pure polypropylene
- Legs made from 16-gauge steel
Although over 50 years old, the retro Swag chair is still stylish and completely contemporary.
Herman Miller History
Founded in 1923 and recognized today throughout the world as an innovator in office and residential furniture design, Herman Miller has been ranked since 1986 among the top ten in Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the 500 most admired companies. Their pioneering research into producing environmentally responsible furniture has earned them GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality certification for most of their products. Aesthetically, many of Herman Miller’s iconic designs, particularly from the 1940s and 1950s, are valuable collector’s items and on permanent display in museums such as the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1933, new furniture designs created by Herman Miller designer Gilbert Rohde exhibiting the smooth lines and unembellished shapes of the emerging mid-century modern furniture style were exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair. In 1944, Rohde’s successor George Nelson designed such enduring icons as the Platform bench, and was famously responsible for teaming the company with such influential design artists as Alexander Girard, Isamu Noguchi and Charles and Ray Eames. Charles Eames, widely regarded as a genius in contemporary furniture design, produced one of Herman Miller’s most successful products in 1956, the elegant Eames Lounge chair. In 1994, Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf introduced a new office chair called Aeron (derived from the word aeration, which describes how the mesh suspension promotes comfort), which became an immediate worldwide success and earned a spot in the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as well. Today, Herman Miller continues to attract world-famous designers like Jeff Weber, Jerome Caruso, the Studio 7.5 Design Team in Berlin, Yves Behar, Mark Goetz and many more.
If the purpose of design is to solve problems, and the relationship between design and business is synergistic, then Herman Miller today continues to be in the vanguard of design as a fundamental part of strategic planning.
Charles & Ray Eames
“Design is the appropriate combination of materials in order to solve a problem.” — Charles Eames
Best known today for their pioneering contributions to the fields of architecture, manufacturing and furniture design, Charles and Ray Eames are considered to be among the most important American designers of the 20th century.
Renowned throughout the world as the creators of the sleek and elegant Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman, influential Aluminum Group chairs, innovative Wire chair and ubiquitous Molded Plastic Armchair, the Eameses began their career and earned their exalted spot on the list of great designers with the introduction in 1946 of the Molded Plywood Lounge (aka the LCW) chair, which was called “the chair of the century” by Time magazine. The enduring appeal of this highly sculptural chair has made it, along with the Eames Lounge chair, a part of the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), as well as a continuing source of inspiration for contemporary furniture designers.
The design philosophy that propelled their creations into superstardom was more than merely about creating a look — the Eames set their sights on creating a better world by designing furniture that fulfilled the practical needs of ordinary people. Good design, they believed, could improve the actual quality of people’s lives. Their work was aimed not merely at aesthetic appeal and charm; their designs aspired to match the contours of the human body, resulting in chairs as comfortable as they were beautiful.
Refined, highly functional office furniture was created in the 1960s, as well as seating designed for Dulles and O’Hare Airports. This Tandem Sling Seating is still in use in airports around the world today.
Throughout their careers, the Eameses never hesitated to tweak and improve their world-famous designs, experimenting with slightly modified angles and seat sizes, expanded color and even material options, all in the name of making good designs ever better.
Discussing the ethos of functionalism that informed all of the Eameses’ furniture designs, Ray Eames said: “What works is better than what looks good. The ‘looks good’ can change, but what works, works!”