Herman Miller for 3sixteen.
Studio photos: Julian Berman
We count ourselves fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with so many brands that we admire greatly over these past twelve years. To us, the opportunity to work on and create something we love - namely, clothing - and allow it to intersect with so many other industries that inspire, influence and affect us deeply is something that we try not to take for granted. 3sixteen has been the vehicle whereby we've been able to meet so many incredible people along the way, from folks who run small passion projects out of their basement to iconic furniture companies like Herman Miller who have left an indelible stamp on the design world.
What you're looking at here is the result of over a year of planning and execution. It's a custom Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, crafted exclusively for us in Herman Miller's factories in Grand Rapids, MI. We were invited out to visit last month and had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk the factory floor and see our chairs made from start to finish.
Relationships are key for us, and this particular project found its humble beginnings in an email conversation in 2014 when a then-employee of Herman Miller inquired about a denim jacket that was debuting later in the year. What began as a simple product inquiry led to an ongoing conversation about shared ideals and parallels between our two industries. We began to brainstorm about ways that the two companies might be able to work together to tell a story about well-made things that look better the more they're used.
The final product was a custom Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman design paired with a natural vegetable-tanned leather upholstery that is sure to develop a beautiful patina over the years as it's used. We especially love how much the natural veg tan wrinkles around the edges and the tufts - it really gives life to Charles Eames' desire for the chair to resemble "a well-used first baseman's mitt." For the molded plywood shell, we chose hand-oiled Santos Palisander veneers which are the closest sustainable matches to the Brazilian rosewoods on the originals. Only three sets were made for us as a custom one-off project, and they will never be reproduced. We plan to document the chairs over the years as they age.
The custom chair and ottoman will be unveiled at the Pop Up Flea in NYC, a three-day holiday market celebrating American design and craftsmanship. We’ve been exhibiting at the Pop Up Flea since its inception in 2009 and this year, alongside our collection, we'll be showcasing this project in a dedicated space where visitors will have a chance to physically interact with it up close. The Pop Up Flea is open to the public and runs from December 11th-13th. More information can be found on their website - we hope to see you there!
Lastly, we wanted to take a minute to acknowledge a few people who helped bring this idea to fruition. First off, thank you to John - your interest in our brand and foresight to see the potential in working together with us made this project possible. To Suzette, Kimberly, Nick and Erik at Herman Miller, thank you for your tireless efforts to bring the chairs to life. To Adam, who has championed the partnership and made the time to host us and tour the campus, we appreciate your hospitality, generosity and friendship. And lastly, to the incredible craftsmen we met at Herman Miller's manufacturing facilities, thank you for inspiring us with your unrelenting attention to detail and your desire to make long-lasting products that improve the lives of their owners. We're proud to have met you.