"The new composite joinery by Dr. Robert Eustis allows incredible flexibility for the designers of wood seating. The joint is a real innovation in terms of strength and capability."

Chuck Davis, FAIA,
Founder Partner
Esherick, Homsy
Dodge and Davis,

Find out more about Professor Eustis, the patented Eustis joint and Menlo Furniture Company, please see our Fact sheet

How do you make a chair?

It was a simple question but one which Robert Eustis urgently needed to answer: he and his new bride were sitting on orange crates at the time.

The young man was about to make five chairs by hand. However, embarking on a career as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford left Dr. Eustis little time for extensive woodworking. It would be 35 years before the Professor could return to the question he had asked himself so many years before.

How do you make a chair better?

Preparing for retirement, a long career of engineering excellence behind him, and a renewed interest in working with wood, the Professor was now not simply interested in building a chair, but the best chair possible. Building a better chair depended on improving the functionality of the design; a challenge he was particularly suited to address. From a mechanical perspective, he realized that chairs were weakest at their joints. In the end, Dr. Eustis not only met the challenge, but also was awarded a patent for his achievement

The joint the Professor designed married wood and steel to create a virtually indestructible union. His chairs would withstand stresses no wooden chair could have withstood before.

Tested for ten years by thousands in schools and libraries

To put his idea to the test, Dr. Eustis started a company manufacturing chairs for the commercial market. The University of California, Berkeley, Santa Clara University, University of Oregon, the cities of Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Carlos and Sunnyvale, were a few of the many universities, libraries and clubs which benefited from the extraordinary durability of the Professors unique design.

Now, wood does what only metal could do before

Ten years and thousands of chairs later, the Professor recognized that his joint created not only a stronger chair, but one that opened new possibilities of design as well. Thanks to his innovation, light, airy, seemingly fragile lines, which formerly depended on the flexible form of metal, could be easily and durably expressed in wood. He built a prototype and received such enthusiastic response that he decided to start a new company Menlo Furniture Designs to create seating for people at home and in their offices.

Today, Menlo Furniture Designs is dedicated to creating seating that is as comfortable as it is capable. It is a company where no design detail is overlooked. And where every aspect of construction is elegantly engineered.