Are they really stools? Places to sit? Are they tables? Plant stands? Accent pieces for homes, offices, lobbies? Yes. They've been called abstract chess pieces. Well, no. Made of solid walnut, these stools designed by Charles and Ray Eames can be used anywhere, alone or in groups, and are beautifully versatile.
At the time it was built in 1959, the Time-Life Building was the largest slab-formed skyscraper in New York. It was a modern marvel, featuring an ultra-modern lobby with murals by Joseph Albers and Fritz Glarner. In 1960, Ray Eames was asked to design occasional pieces for that lobby to accompany chairs designed by her husband, Charles. Trained as a sculptor, Eames created the walnut stools, which became her favorite seats and were scattered all over the Pacific Palisades home she shared with Charles. A museum curator once ordered two of these stools for his son and daughter. "Graduation gifts?" he was asked. "No," he said, "the kids are only five and three. But I want them to have the experience of growing up with something truly good that they can keep all their lives."