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ICF Produced Eames Aluminium Chairs

Product design
- 03 May 2009 -
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Product design

Does anyone know when ICF ceased production of the Eames Alu chairs? I know that there were a lot of legal wranglings between ICF and Vitra over who had the rights to produce Eameses designs. Even though the ICF chairs have stickers stating that they are produced to the original Eames design and are evidently produced to a very high standard, did they ever have consent to produce these chairs from Herman Miller and as such be considered an authorized Eames chair? Thanks for any input in advance.



- 04 May 2009

ICF and the DePadovas
From the e DePadova volume (Motta Edi., 2006):

Interview with Maddelena DePadova:

"Hence Fehlbaum's [of Vitra] misgivings. He, too, thought the Eameses' work outstanding, but he hadn't yet made up his mind to manufacture Miller's furniture under license. He said 'You think there are people interested in this furniture?'
'We are!'
'Well, then, let's do this collection!'

"The upshot was that a year later, in 1958, we founded the ICF factory at Vimodrone and began to make [Herman] Miller furniture for Italy. In a few years we produced the whole collection. And that how American design came to Milan."

Hope this helps.

- 06 May 2009

I can't tell you when you...
I can't tell you when you stopped manuafcturing them (as they now seem to have done- though their Una chair is similar), but I do remember that they were still making them in the mid-90s. I used to sell them on behalf of my then-employer, Terence Conran, as he and Vitra were not talking to each other at the time. We sold the Aluminium (British spelling) Group chairs and the Eames daybed too.

I remember, too, that ICF started to re-manufacture the George Nelson Pretzel chair around the same time, over a decade before Vitra got in on the act.

- 07 May 2009

Vitra has always been the only company authorized and licensed to produce eames and other herman miller designs in europe.

- 07 May 2009

Not true Chewbacca. Mobilier...
Not true Chewbacca. Mobilier International, Vitra, ICF and Hille all had permission from Herman Miller to produce Eames design under license for the French, German, Italian and UK markets respectively. I believe Vitra flexed it's rather large muscles and froze the other companies out of the equation. I'm not quite sure when ICF ceased production but have seen/had chairs that looked like they were produced in the 1990s.

Finally, the quality of ICF chairs is excellent. They are not QUITE upto Vitra standard but do run them close and of course save the wallet a fair few pence.

- 07 May 2009

saw some in an auction last week
they looked brand new - maybe someone out there has seen an opportunity and produced some ICF labels and stuck them on some really cheap rip-offs?



- 08 May 2009

ICF aluminium group
I visited an ICF showroom in Bologna in 2001 that had various Eames pieces on display. I picked up an illustrated aluminium (sic) group/ soft pad group catalogue in English and Italian. Interestingly, one of the pictures shows an optional "armrest in die-cast aluminium with leather or fabric upholstery" that I've not seen elsewhere. The catalogue also shows bases painted black or white as options, and offers a nylon net fabric among other fabrics. Otherwise the pictures look much like the HM/Vitra versions.

- 08 May 2009

ICF aluminium group
Here are some more excerpts from the catalogue:

Since as far back as the 1960s ICF holds the right to manufacture and market all the products designed by Charles Eames respecting the original designs to the full, while introducing small improvements required by present regulations and new technologies.

Separated by a ten-year span, Aluminium Group and Soft Pad Group are definitely the most sought-after chairs of ICF production.

Forty years later, ICF still produces these collections, maintaining the original working sequences and directly taking care of all the production stages; from moulding the die-cast aluminium, to stitching the upholstery of the seats and backs.

- 08 May 2009

Interesting Peter, are the...
Interesting Peter, are the aluminium and softpad group still in production? I have had a few softpad chairs in excellent condition that have looked like the were produced in only the last couple of years. I also have a nice lobby chair in black leather, not seen an ICF version of the lobby before this.

If I paid, would you be able to photocopy the catalogue for me? Would be very grateful!

- 08 May 2009

ICF aluminium group
I don't know if they are still in production, but they certainly were back in 2001 when I was in the showroom.

I was surprised to see the ICF chairs--I had never heard of ICF before and hadn't known there were authorized makers besides HM and Vitra. (I chanced upon the showroom walking around while on vacation in Bologna.)

The catalogue shows only the aluminum and soft pad but they had other Eames furniture in the showroom. The 670 lounge and ottoman had the Vitra-style base. Sometime I'd love to find out why there are two different base styles.

I'd be happy to scan or photocopy the catalogue, just let me know how to send it to you.

- 09 May 2009

Does that mean
I'm a little confused - It was my understanding that most of the Eames furniture came under Vitra control fairly early on. Does ICF still have license, do they produce the chairs for Vitra to sell, or are they now operating without official license? And in which market does ICF sell?

Vitra's website used to have a timeline that specified when they picked up various pieces, but it is no longer posted.

- 09 May 2009

Hello Peter,

Thanks for...
Hello Peter,

Thanks for that. A scan would be great, my email address is mail @ retrosixty. co. uk (with no gaps obviously! - those pesky scammers :) )

Lucifer - the whole ICF/Vitra argument is a murky one, I am not sure if anyone bar those who were involved in the court cases know exactly what went on, all I know is ICF chairs were/are genuine chairs albeit not as valuable/well known as Vitra offerings.


- 10 May 2009

one note
I found one note that Vitra consolidated licensing in 1984. this seems to make a bit of sense - if other companies were seeing a lull in sales, Charles and Ray had recently died, and a new design scene was coming to the forefront - why would Vitra not push HM to consolidate the licensing? Was anyone clever enough to copy the Vitra timeline from their website? (I sure wasnt)

- 10 May 2009

Thanks for all the...
Thanks for all the contributions so far.

I had always thought that ICF had stopped production around the end of the 80s but I picked up a couple of chairs recently that are in near mint condition, hense the question at the begining of this thread.

The Vitra chair are obviously more desirable, I prefer the 4 point base as opposed to the ICF 5 point base which I understand was an alteration to the original design introduced to satisfy health and safety legislation.

Peter, I would also love to see the ICF catalogue if you could email it to me as well. mcminteriors @ yahoo . co .uk
{without the gaps}

- 10 May 2009

Vitra Aluchairs with castors...
Current Vitra Aluchairs with castors also have a 5 point base.

From the timeline:
1957: European launch of furniture designs by Charles & Ray Eames, as well as by George Nelson (produced under license from Herman Miller, USA)
1986: Vitra acquires the European and Middle Eastern rights to Eames and Nelson products.
1988: The company acquires a large section of the Charles & Ray Eames Estate

Here is the whole thing as a pdf:

- 11 May 2009

According to the catalogue ICF offered the five-star base standard, the four-star base on request.
I'll try to scan and send the catalogue tomorrow.

- 11 May 2009

My local gym has three...
My local gym has three net-weave Aluminium Group chairs in the reception made by ICF. The gym opened, I believe in 2007, which suggests that even though they no longer appear in the ICF inventory, they were only dropped relatively recently.

- 22 Jun 2009

ICF. La producción de...
ICF. La producción de muebles eames en europa no sólo está ligada a vitra. ICF la empresa italiana que en su día funadaran Fernando y Madalena de Padova estuvo directamente ligada a la producción de esos muebles. Hille en Reino Unido también los produjo y creo que mobilier international hizo lo propio en francia. ICF fuen vendida en los ochenta, pero no obstante, siguió fabricando muebles eames hasta 2005, fecha en la perdió definitivamente el pleito que que sostenía con vitra. La revista Icon desing se hizo eco la noticia a propósito de un artículo que versaba sobre originales y copias. En el año 2002 ICF hizo una campaña publicitaria cuyo lema era "ICF and Charles Eames, together for over 40 years". Todavía conservo algún archivo pdf de ICF de muebles como la Lounge Chair".

Por cierto, se miran la web de Herman Miller, verán que la aluminium chair standard tiene cinco radios. Vitra también la hacía por encargo.

Lo que es cierto, es que desde que vitra se ha quitado de encima a la ICF los precios no han parado de subir y subir. Herman miller es mucho más barato en la producción de los mismos muelbes

- 17 Dec 2009

670 lounge chair by MOBILIER INTERNATIONAL
Me again,

I also have a Mobilier international lounge chair.
They used to distribute (officialy) Herman MILLER furniture here in France in the 70s and 80s.... (I also have some alu group chairs and alu group lounge chairs with the Mobilier international + the Herman MILLER logos on the bases).

Both ICF and Mobilier international have the Vitra styled star base (glides are white on the Mobilier international and black on the ICF).

- 31 May 2011

Excuse the bump...
...but I just picked up an Eames 670 Lounge Chair that was purchased from the Conran Shop in London in the mid-90s.

andrewj, since there's a very good chance that you may have been the one who originally sold it (!) I would love to know a little more about who might've manufactured it -- unlike some of the other ICF examples posted to this board, it's got the US/HM base as opposed to the European/Vitra/Contract base.

No stickers on it of course, except the standard UK "Carelessness Causes Fires" upholstery warning.

- 31 May 2011

eames longue chair
I purchased a brand new ICF Eames Lounge and ottoman in 2.002 in pamplona, Spain. The retailer, an official dealer for both Vitra and ICF brands, stated at that time that ICF was making the chair in Palisander and that it was impossible to find it on Vitra. The Official price, I remember was almost the same for the vitra and the ICF versions. Hope this helps a little.

- 01 Jun 2011

Manufacturer of Eames Lounger mid-90s
@ jkruger,

Your lounge chair was almost certainly made by Alivar in Italy. Unlike ICF, Mobilier etc., Alivar were never official licensees for Eames furniture (or for any other designers), but they did manufacture very good copies of classics by Eames, Saarinen, Mies, Wright, Mackintosh, Bertoia etc. In fact, they also made the Nelson slat-bench and Corbusier sofas and chaise longue that Conran's sold at the time. As I've already mentioned, Vitra and Conran weren't on good terms at the time, and I'd like to think that if the Conran Shop could have sold the licensed originals in the 90s, they would have done so. They now seem to have resumed relations with Vitra, and are selling the authorised Eames range.

- 10 Aug 2011

ICF 670 lounge chair
Does anyone know what these chairs cost? I found 2 in my attic and seem to be in decent shape.
Could use some extra cash and wanted to get a figure if possible.


- 02 Feb 2012

Looking for detailed photos of ICF, Alivar, and Shaf Eames 670 chairs

Could you please email me detailed photos of your ICF Eames lounger? Looking for photos of: back of chair, base of chair, underside of the ottoman and the chair, and the underside of the ottoman. If anyone has photos of the Alivar and Shaf chairs, I would appreciate having them sent to me as well. As detailed in another thread on this forum, I recently purchased what I believe to be an Italian made Eames style lounger. I am trying to determine who manufactured it. You can email me the photos to

Thank you in advance for your assistance.


- 30 Aug 2017

Identification marks: Vitra/Herman Miller/ICF confusion
I think it would be great if there was a line-up of the distinguishing features of Herman Miller, Vitra and ICF.
I've seen something here but it is not conclusive. I have seen an EA117 by ICF which had grub screws in the backrest spreader and Hex screws on the edges of the seat. Vitra uses crosshead screws and no grub screws in the backrest spreader.
Then again I have recently seen a chair that had crosshead screws lie Vitra, but also grub screws in the backrest spreader. The ribs were chromed, but they were mounted on polished alu contract bases by Herman Miller. Could this for example be one from the early days when Herman Miller sent out the parts to the licensees and they weren't yet made on site in Europe? This would still not explain the crosshead screws – unless this was mandatory because of some regulation in Europe. The mix of chromed and unchromed aluminium looks like something that was done because the original tops were worn, but it is still strange.

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