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  • Wants and Needs

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on February 1st, 2011 (All posts by )

    When I was growing up a friend of mine had parents who were very aware of architecture and design. They lived in a Walter Burley Griffin house and had a swivel chair that I was always fascinated by with a matching ottoman.

    Of course it is an Eames Chair and ottoman by Herman Miller. These chairs are typically around $4000 each and never really go on sale.

    I recently did sit and swivel for a bit in one at Room and Board. It is a very comfortable and cool chair.

    But alas this is clearly a WANT and not a NEED. I recently spent less than $100 for a leather office chair at Office Depot that works fine; it replaces a hideous one that I had bought for about $40 maybe 10 years ago. The Eames chair and ottoman would also take up a lot of space in our condo which works against it, as well.

    I admire the fact that Herman Miller is able to sell this chair for such a high price and avoid discounting. I even started looking a bit on ebay but it wasn’t much cheaper there although it is very interesting that they sell chairs back to the 1970s and can cite the official number from the manufacturer as reference.

    Maybe someday…

     

    9 Responses to “Wants and Needs”

    1. Dan from Madison Says:

      I’m not seeing the value in a $4000 chair either, but many must for them to keep selling them. I would think you could get a knockoff for cheaper, but I imagine the leather and wood wouldn’t be as high quality but what the hell do I know about furniture anyway.

    2. mdb Says:

      With all the businesses leaving Chicago, you should keep your eye out for one. I have one from a business that closed in RI that was free. It was 20 years ago – but I still have the chair and for the longest time along with my $100 college futon outfitted my living room. Now it is in my office – futon is gone.

    3. Carl from Chicago Says:

      I’ve checked around for knockoffs and there aren’t too many out there that are decent. I saw one in Door county of all places but didn’t pull the trigger. Since we live in a relatively small place if I am going to get one of the damn things it might as well be the real deal. Good idea on looking out for them when businesses are closing.

    4. Robert Schwartz Says:

      IIRC, the Herman Miller ones don’t swivel. I found them not to be very comfortable. Although my idea of comfort has changed as my spinal disks have degenerated.

    5. JohnF Says:

      Is there any chance you could persuade anybody in Washington that this distinction exists?

    6. Tatyana Says:

      Price is a consequence of copyright issues. Buying original, copyrighted chair is an investment as much as buying an original work of art signed by an author. Not for nothing Herman Miller calls this series “modern classics” – it is a subject to the same rules as classic antique furniture by famous makers found at world auction houses; hence the serial numbers that add value.

      Robert, the classic Eames chair does swivel. Look at the page #33 in this price book; it is a legal-binding document.

    7. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Tatyana: I said IIRC. The spinal disks are not the only thing that is degenerating.

    8. Tatyana Says:

      Robert – glad to be able to jog your memory

    9. Angie Schultz Says:

      A friend of mine has two of these (they may be knock-offs). I was looking after his dog last summer. Sat in the chair to watch some TV, and…zzzzz. I couldn’t keep awake! Incredibly comfy.

      I would settle for the $600 office chairs we have at work. We work 14-hour shifts in these (though some of my colleagues don’t like them). We call them “evil alien dentist chairs”; they are a minor tourist attraction to visitors. I’d love to have one at home, but that’ll have to wait until I’m rich.