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Eames Storage Unit (ESU)

Designer
Charles Eames, American, 1907–1978
Ray Kaiser Eames, American, 1912–1988
Maker
Herman Miller Furniture Company, Zeeland, Michigan, founded 1923
Date
designed 1949–50
Material
Birch plywood, zinc-plated steel, perforated metal, plastic laminated plywood, lacquered Masonite, and rubber
Place made
Zeeland, Michigan, United States, North and Central America
Classification
Furniture
Current Location
On View, Gallery 130
Dimensions
58 11/16 x 47 1/16 x 16 15/16 in. (149 x 119.5 x 43 cm)
Credit Line
Friends Fund
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
17:1994
NOTES
Charles Eames and his wife Ray were among the most important industrial designers of the twentieth century. This storage unit epitomizes the Eameses' goal for most of their work-to design mass-produced furnishings that were beautiful and affordable to the average consumer. The Eames Storage Units (ESU) were a system of lightweight modular cabinets and desks with prefabricated, interchangeable parts: shelves, perforated metal backs, panels, and sliding doors and drawers, all in various materials and color combinations. No attempt was made to conceal the structural elements. To simplify shipping, this cabinet with steel-angle corner legs was originally conceived as knockdown furniture. Design as the rearrangement of industrial parts was a constant that the Eameses executed in varying scales throughout their work: in concept and aesthetic this unit is a small-scale version of their famous 1949 Case Study house in Pacific Palisades, California.
perhaps Proctor Collection, USA

- 1994
R. F. Willis Gallery (Robert Willis), Grand Rapids, MI [1]

1994 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from R.F. Willis Gallery (Robert Willis) [2]


Notes:
[1] Robert Willis of the R. F. Willis Gallery was unable to provide details of the provenance, other than that the piece was formerly either in the Proctor (of Proctor & Gamble) collection or in one of their friends collections in Cincinatti, OH [note from C. McCarty, SLAM document files].

[2] Invoice dated March 29, 1994. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 19, 1994.
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