Charles and Ray Eames, who pioneered modern chair design in the 1940s and '50s, were responsible for some of the most innovative chairs of the 20th century. Their chairs were fabricated from wood, fiberglass, plastic, and metal mesh. Eames chairs have been widely imitated, but originals are highly sought-after by collectors because they are considered breakthroughs in both design and technology.

In 1940, Charles Eames met Ray Kaiser at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, which was also home to architect and Eames collaborator Eero Saarinen and furniture designer Harry Bertoia. The couple married a year later and moved to Los Angeles to continue their work in molded plywood.

By 1945, the couple had figured out how to create compound curves in molded plywood. One of their first pieces was a birch child’s chair and stool manufactured by the Molded Plywood Division of Evans Products — production was limited to just 5,000 pieces.

Evans also produced about 1,000 LCW chairs (which stands for Lounge Chair Wood) before the Eameses began a long collaboration with the Herman Miller Furniture Company, which produced and distributed a number of chairs for them, including the DCM (Dining Chair Metal), in which two pieces of plywood are secured to a solid-rod chromed frame with rubber shock mounts. In 1951, Herman Miller was selling 2,000 of these chairs a month (examples with wooden legs were less popular, making them more collectible today).

Molded fiberglass chairs in a variety of bright colors — with or without arms, with or without a rocking base — came next. Serious Eames connoisseurs look for chairs from this period, 1950-1953, with a "Miller-Zenith" label on their undersides. The ones with wooden bases (DAW, PAW) are less common and thus more sought-after than the ones with metal legs (DAR, LAX, LAR, RAR). Around the same time, the couple designed chairs made from sturdy wire mesh, with covers available in leather, vinyl, and fabric by designer Alexander Girard.

These were the chairs that the Eameses produced for the mass consumer. By 1956, well-heeled customers could order a Lounge Chair and Ottoman, whose molded rosewood plywood form embraced rich leather upholstery. The chair is still available today from Herman Miller in cherry and walnut.

In 1958, the couple launched a chair collection called the Aluminum Group, which included a desk chair and a lounge chair — the armless models of the latter are most prized today. In 1960, Eames designed several chairs and a trio of stools for the new Time-Life Building in New York. One was an Executive Desk Chair, the other an Intermediate Desk Chair, which was a smaller version of the Executive that did not sell as well, making it the more prized of the two today.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

EamesCollector.com

EamesCollector.com

Steven Cabella's personal homage to Charles and Ray Eames. This site is as clean and visually appealing as the Eame… [read review or visit site]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

This Library of Congress microsite is an overview of the postwar modern design work of Charles (1907-78) and Ray (1… [read review or visit site]

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

This website showcases several hundred pieces of furniture, held by thirteen museums, that were designed for Herman… [read review or visit site]

Modernism

Modernism

This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

Buffalo Architecture and History

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Chuck LaChiusa's wonderful guide to the architecture and history of Buffalo, NY, also happens to host an impressive… [read review or visit site]

The Mid Century Modernist

The Mid Century Modernist

Stephen Coles' really visual blog dedicated to the Modernist era of design from 1940 to 1970 (aka Mid-century Moder… [read review or visit site]

Chipstone

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This beautiful site showcases the collection of Stanley and Polly Stone of Fox Point, Wisconsin, consisting of earl… [read review or visit site]

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This huge online database from the Speed Art Museum is a rich trove of beautiful photos and reference information o… [read review or visit site]

Classic Modern

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Recent News: Eames Chairs

Source: Google News

La storica Eames Shell Chair prodotta in materiale riciclato
Architettura ed Ecosostenibilità: Soluzioni architettoniche per, September 23rd

Alcune sedie sono riconoscibili a prima vista come la Eames Chair. Quest'opera di design progettata dal duo di designer Charles e Ray Eames, è diventata una delle icone più note del modernismo di metà del secolo scorso e ricercata dagli appassionati...Read more

The Unexpected Sustainability of Gen Y
Huffington Post, September 22nd

This Eames chair? I repaired it myself after finding it in a dumpster. And yes, Millennials are willing to put in work to create, maintain, alter and repair items. One of the benefits of having the internet at your fingertips is that you can find...Read more

Design brands attack UK government over copyright law delay
Dezeen, September 22nd

I may be wrong but doesn't an imported, unlicensed Eames chair offer the exact same economic benefits to the UK as an imported, licensed Eames chair? Both are manufactured outside the UK and any royalty paid by Vitra will be paid to the Eames estate, ...Read more

Design: Die Besserbürger
ZEIT ONLINE, September 17th

Das Internet ist voll mit angeblich individuellen Wohnungen. in denen immer der eine Eames Chair steht, plus Fixie und Analogknipse. Das verstehen alle, hat jedoch mit Individualität und guten Geschmack gar nichts zu tun. Ältere Männer auf schneeweißen ...Read more

Ultraleicht loungen: Halo von Michael Sodeau
DETAIL.de | Architektur-Portal, August 29th

Ähnliche Beiträge: Wiederauferstehung: Knoll legt Pollock Arm Chair neu auf Manche Möbel sind einfach so gut, dass sie schlicht zeitlos sind und ... Putzig: Mini-Eames-Chair aus dem 3D-Drucker Es ist immer wieder erstaunlich, was mittlerweile so alles...Read more