Part of the Aluminum Group, released in 1958, the Eames low back side chair has seen a great deal of versatility throughout the years and has been associated with names such as Task Chair, Desk Chair, Office Chair, Management & Meeting Chair. Initially released as an indoor and outdoor dining chair, the Alu Group as a whole have gone from being for the home, to being known as workplace chairs, for the lounge and for formal gatherings too.
Initially released in 1958, the Eames low back side chair has the seen the most variants over the decades of the Alu Group. It was first released with four options, one chair without arms and in fixed (model 680) and swivel (model 680s) pedestal bases and one chair with arms with fixed (Model 686) and Swivel (model 686S) choices. A high back version was simultaneously released.
The dual indoor/outdoor life of the initial release was short lived and into the 1960's the chairs were developed further with more and more upholstery choices as well as with a second base option which increased the number of available variants to 6. By the 1970's and following a size tweak the range was fast developing into being focused on the work environment and it would be fair to say this was becoming something Herman Miller were particularly good at.
By 1985 and despite still good sales, the number of options was reduced to only two and a new 5 star base brought in. This was due to the new models having the ability to swivel, tilt and have height adjustment, the thinking during this period was that less is more and that this new variant would cater for all needs under one cost. Only in 2011 did the four variants on 4 leg bases return and new outdoor models become available once again.
The Alu Group Eames low back side chair has been in continuous production since 1958 albeit through varying changes.
The Alu Group went through a series of changes to the model numbers and it is not surprising that pieces in the secondary market often sport the wrong ones. They were fairly logical and changed with developments in the range. See our classification page for a full run through of all the Alu codes but for the Low Back Side Chairs, you can see them here:
|Width||19.5" (no arms) 22" (with)||49.53 cm (no arms) 55.88 cm (with)|
|Seat Height||18.5"||47 cm|
|Upholstery||Naugahyde, Hopsack, Leather, Mesh|
|Base||4 Star & 5 Star Universal Base|
|Feet||Nylon Glides, Castors|
Generations of furniture designs are never pre-determined or indeed championed at times. They merely represent notable turning points in the history of the design in question and ultimately help in being able to pinpoint age, authenticity and value. Alu Group Side Chairs actually have a logical progression of generations and we use base changes as our means of identifying.