Eiffel Bases; Herman Miller Vs. Modernica — Let’s Get Down to The Nitty-Gritty.
2012 January 31
Shown is a side-by-side comparison of Herman Miller’s Eames ‘Plastic’ Shell Chair on an Eiffel Base and Modernica’s Case Study Fiberglass Shell Chair on an Eiffel Base. (Herman Miller’s chair is to the left and Modernica’s Chair is to the right.)
Although both chairs both sit at exactly the same height, Modernica’s base appears to be slimmer and more upright.
This visual difference can be attributed to the side measurement. Modernica’s base measures 16.5″ from foot to foot, while Herman Miller’s version of the base measures 22″ from foot to foot. This extra 5.5″ significantly changes the profile of the chair. But more aptly it is that Modernica has used the exact geometry of the original design in it’s own version of the base.
To complete my Eiffel base comparison above is a vintage Herman Miller Arm Shell chair that was produced at Zenith Plastics in 1951, and to the left is the underside of an Eiffel Base from 1954. Both images show that the original bases have the classic slim upright base, which is similar to Modernica’s Eiffel base design, rather than the modified Herman Miller base.
It is in these details that one can appreciate the true design that Charles Eames intended. Below I found the drawing for the patent that Charles Eames submitted in 1952 and was approved for in 1954 for the Eiffel base design.