Harry Bertoia

Designed By Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia developed his initial chair design ideas while working with Charles Eames and others in California in the late 1940s. He was extremely instrumental in achieving the flexible plywood seat with tubular frame that eventually became the Eames chair. Bertoia joined the Point Loma Naval Electronics Laboratory where his work at the lab to scrutinize the human body and chart how to design equipment such as control panels with respect to comfort of the human reach and grip. He found this study of body dynamics (today we might call it ergonomics) fascinating and it contributed to knowledge used later in designing well-fitting practical chairs. His former Cranbrook classmate Florence Schust Knoll invited Bertoia to work with her and her husband Hans in Pennsylvania, which he did and set up shop under the auspices of Knoll.

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