The Museum of Modern Art: Department of Industrial Design

Photographs of Industrial Design Exhibitions

On the following pages are pictures from three exhibitions held in the Museum during 1946 by the Industrial Design Department. The first three pages show furniture designed by Charles Eames using rubber shock-mounts electronically glued to metal and plywood, a process perfected in wartime airplane factories. With these shock-mounts resilience is built into the frame of a chair, not added to it in the form of upholstery. Backs and seats are molded of plywood to fit the human form. The plywood was shown impregnated with deep true colors without losing the beauty of wood grain; many natural wood surfaces were also shown. Weather-proof finishes allow the furniture to stay outdoors; for extra comfort indoors, a thin pad of foam rubber may be permanently glued to the lounge chairs and then covered with leather sealed electronically. Zipper strips similarly attached would permit changeable covers. Coffee tables and dining tables that ship flat were also exhibited, as were storage cases with simple decorative box-joint corners and molded drawers running on metal tracks, eliminating the dirty corners and awkward swelling of conventional cabinet construction. These storage units were light and small-scaled, and could be evenly aligned on seat-high benches. All this furniture was based on designs which won Eames and his colleague, Eero Saarinen, a first prize in the Museum's Organic Design Department in 1940. To the original concepts Eames had added a wealth of personal experimentation and knowledge acquired during his war production career. The furniture shown in the Museum in March 1946 comes closer to using the advantages of modern American production techniques for the benefit of the purchaser--in regard to comfort, quality and price--than any design shown publicly so far.

(top) dining table and chairs (bottom) an arrangement of unit cases and bench

unit cases, conversation chairs, coffee table

coffee table and tilt-back chair

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