Like A ‘Girl in a Bikini Suit’ and Other Stories: The Herman Miller Furniture Company, Gender and Race at Mid-Century

Kristina Wilson


This article examines storage furniture and chair designs created for the Herman Miller Furniture Company by the offices of George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames in the 1940s and 1950s. (...) While it is methodologically problematic to assert that gender or race intrinsically inheres in the design objects themselves—the article contends that there is, ultimately, no essentially ‘feminine’ line or ‘white’ form—gendered and racialized narratives can be found through a close reading of the visual and verbal frames that surrounded these objects.

Article published in Design History Journal | Volume 28 | Number 2 | 2015