Cabinets (Entry Panel for MoMA Competition for Organic Design in Home Furnishings)
Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen

Pencil and airbrush on board
30 x 20"

Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen won First Prize for their Case Goods in the Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition, which was organized by Elliot Noyes and held by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1941.

The cabinets are finished on all sides, except for the bottoms, where there are rubber bumper pads to protect the surface of the benches.

In his book, Charles Eames Furniture from the Design Collection (The Museum of Modern Art, New York), Arthur Drexler notes: “The entry by Saarinen and Eames comprised a group of cabinets and coffee tables, later supplemented by desk-tables. Like most designers of modern furniture, their solution to the problem of storage called for boxes of uniform dimensions, the interesting innovation being that the boxes were not to support themselves, but were to be carried on separate benches, which could also function as seats.” —Eames Office

In 1940, MoMA sponsored a contest challenging designers to submit furniture, lamps, and textiles of “Organic Design,” which curator Elliot Noyes described as exemplifying “harmonious organization of the parts within the whole, according to structure, material, and purpose.” Winners would not only have their work exhibited in the 1941 exhibition Organic Design in Home Furnishings, but were also awarded contracts for manufacture and distribution with major department stores, with the first day of sales timed to coincide with the exhibition’s opening. This exhibition introduced the world to Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames, who worked together as a team and won in both the chair design (with the iconic Organic Chair) and living room categories. —MoMA

(Photo: MoMA)