Design Saul Steinberg’s cat returns
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Saul Steinberg’s cat returns

Anna Frattini

When Saul Steinberg arrives at Charles and Ray Eames’ studio in Venice, California, it’s the 1950s. The artist and architect takes a brush and starts painting on the walls, floors, and furniture of the Eames’ studio, and instead of being offended, they are delighted. One of the results of this creative moment is the drawing of a cat on the Shell Chair, one of Steinberg’s favorite subjects, which is peacefully embraced by the iconic seat.

Vitra and Herman Miller will release a limited series of these chairs through their respective e-commerce channels to pay tribute to this moment of genuine creativity. To create these limited editions, the original chair painted by Steinberg was scanned to obtain a replicable 3D file for 500 chairs. A protective enamel preserves the drawing on the seats, all of which are individually numbered.

Saul steinberg

While the original seat remains in the Eames Institute’s archives, this reissue of the Shell Chair carries the creative force of the two designers. Charles and Ray were not afraid to play with the objects they designed, especially on special occasions like the encounter with Saul Steinberg, one of the most important illustrators of the 20th century.

Saul steinberg

Herman Miller introduced the first molded fiberglass seats designed by Charles and Ray Eames, including the Shell Chair. In the 1970s, when Vitra’s founder, Rolf Fehlbaum, visited the USA, he asked Miller for the rights to produce these seats and many other pieces from the American company. That’s why the limited edition of the Shell Chair will be launched by both Vitra and Herman Miller, with 180 units available for the USA and North America, 20 for Japan, and 300 in Europe and the Middle East.

Ph. courtesy Vitra, Herman Miller e Fondazione Eames

Designdesignproduct design
Written by Anna Frattini
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