charles and ray eames | dcm | herman miller 1946/1970 | photos courtesy of wright
Apple products combined cutting-edge design with cutting-edge technology. American ate it up. You don’t always (or usually) get such class acts in the consumer marketplace.
But I want to underscore another class act in American functional design: Herman Miller. I have an Eames chair (the one with the metal frame and wood back and seat) that my father-in-law used in the office of the building supplies business he built after he and and his wife fled Germany in 1938. Many of their possessions reflected the mid-Century modernist taste.
Unfortunately and non-intentionally a relative somehow broke the back off the chair shortly after my husband died. I wanted it fixed appropriately. Someone advised me to take it to an art gallery that specialized in mid-century modernism. But I just called Herman Miller and asked if they could fix it.
Well, you would have thought I was the First Lady by the way I was treated. As promised, shortly after the call I received two emails with my case number, a sample UPS label and a personal note from the woman with whom I originally spoke who had an expertise on whatever product anyone wished to return.
It turns out that Herman Miller simply needed to remove the broken molding on chair’s back, send it back and I could reattach it using a standard screwdriver. My contact advised me it would be a 3-4 week turn-around. Instead, I received the rebuilt back piece within a week of sending it.
It’s difficult to describe the feeling I had: the confidence that Herman Miller was actually taking care of me and my priceless family heirloom. My in-laws, carried the Bauhaus sensibility with them when they sought refuge in America.
This is not a story of bravery, heroism, moral enlightenment or anything like that. It is simply a statement of appreciation for a level of care and professionalism that all too often is missing in America today. My chair, whole again, represents a heritage I want to pass on.
designer: charles and ray eames
producer: herman miller
object: dcm 1946/1970 | ash, chrome-plated steel, rubber, plastic | 19.25 w x 22 d x 29.5 h inches