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It would be a surprise for many to learn that the super recognizable ‘ribbed’ Alu Group chairs were designed to be indoor and outdoor domestic seating rather than office chairs. It took a change of emphasis from Herman Miller in the 1960’s for the range to be thrust forward as potential options for the workplace.
With the advent of the George Nelson action office, Herman Miller’s focus had something of a significant twist in the 1960’s towards the commercial and workplace market, they just needed seating options to match. The Alu Group, designed earlier in 1957 by Charles and Ray Eames, was pinpointed as having the potential to be the office chair of the future. The range’s super modern look, using bright Aluminum and sumptuous leather look upholstery, already had the appearance which stated decadence, professionalism and executive prowess. With a tweak or two, it was turned into a range of workplace seating, retaining the original look and feel, but offering the latest in office requirement such as height and tilt function not to mention the organic ergonomic comfort. Such was the popularity of the Alu Group Office Chairs that they have never been out of production ever since.
Recognizing the rise of the executive, Herman Miller proceeded to adapt another of the Eames designs toward the workplace commercial market. The 1961 Time Life Chair started life as a lounging lobby chair for a building in New York but soon became the design of choice for reception areas, conference rooms and manager’s offices the world over.
By the end of the 1960’s and the evolution was complete with the introduction of the Soft Pad Chair. This range was essentially an extension of the Alu Group, even mirroring the models entirely, but with extra paneled cushioning and fully upholstered in leather. This gave rise to desk seating aimed at the manager, at extra comfort and with the added feel of luxury.
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