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Vitra Miniature Aluminium chair, Eames: The furniture making up the indoor-outdoor group goes back to an idea by Alexander Girard and Eero Saarinen, who were looking for furnishings to harmonize with the house they had just completed for Irvin Miller. Originally conceived for outside use, the first aluminium easy chairs to be mass produced, are today used solely in interiors.
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Vitra Miniature Aluminium chair, Eames: The furniture making up the indoor-outdoor group goes back to an idea by Alexander Girard and Eero Saarinen, who were looking for furnishings to harmonize with the house they had just completed for Irvin Miller. Girard, one of whose interests as an architect was landscape gardening, complained that though there was a good choice of furniture for interiors, there was nothing to grace attractive patios– and no decent garden furniture. Charles Eames became preoccupied with this problem until one day during a flight he came up with the idea of an aluminium frame construction combined with a material »seat«. He wanted to develop a shape following the natural lines of the body, not however as a hard shell, but as a resilient length of material stretched between two supports which trace the body’s natural form. A narrow plastic strip extending the length of the material acts as reinforcement. The material is held in place by insertion into slits on the frame’s outer edge. Experiments withdifferent covering materials later resulted in an upholstered sandwich construction consisting of two layers of »Nauga hide« with a thin filling of vinyl-foam and vinylwadding stitched at intervals of 1 7/8 inches using a high-frequency welding technique. Originally conceived for outside use, the first aluminium easy chairs to be mass produced, are today used solely in interiors. Polished cast aluminum, leather.
The collection of the Vitra Design Museum en miniature: The Miniatures Collection of the Vitra Design Museum covers the most important pieces from the international history of design from 1850 up to the present. The construction, materials and colours of the miniatures correspond precisely to the historical original. Extensive development work was carried out to adapt the manufacturing techniques to the requirements of miniaturization. Because they are so true to the originals, the miniatures are not only collector’s objects for furniture enthusiasts, but also serve as ideal illustrative material for universities and design schools. At present, the collection encompasses 80 models on a 1:6 scale with further pieces being continually added. The models come in their own wooden box and are accompanied by a descriptive brochure with details on the design. Net proceeds from the sale of the miniatures go towards the exhibitions and workshops of Vitra Design Museum.
Miniaturization means concentration: Vitra Design Museum faithfully replicates furniture design classics in miniaturized three-dimensional form. Many of these designs, like the chaise longue by Le Corbusier or the red-blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld, are as widely known today as the most celebrated works of art and are coveted by museums and collectors the world over. These miniatures illustrate at a glance what design means and what role it plays in the industrial production process. The clear and concentrated world of the miniatures yields a fascinating reflection of the stylistic diversity of contemporary design and provides a unique way of accessing the history of furniture design.
The manufacture of the miniatures: Vitra Design Museum has one of the most renowned collections of industrial furniture design – from the infancy of industrial mass production in the mid-19th century through the designs of functionalistic Modernism up to the postmodern furniture objects of the present day. With its many exhibits, the collection provides us with an ideal base for developing new furniture miniatures. Model builders measure the historical original in the museum collection, scale this down to one sixth of the original size and compile technical documentation. Subsequently, materials and manufacturing techniques are tested over a period of several months: the shapes are formed, materials and processes are selected, art historical research on the objects is conducted and then the production sequences are defined.