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”)

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]



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

Buffalo Architecture and History

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]



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

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

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

Classic Modern

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Recent News: Eames Chairs

Source: Google News

Boy's budget bedroom makeover focuses on fun
Los Angeles Times, August 20th

Or pair an inexpensive IKEA desk with a vintage Eames chair.” Lighting: "This room had no lighting. A kid needs lighting. We added wall sconces from Urban Outfitters for $29. I went with a big-scale light fixture in the center of the room from Kartell...Read more

My space: Georgia Metcalfe, August 16th

Eames chair and footstool. This is the most comfortable spot in the house, and is the perfect spot to take five minutes and get a bit of peace on a Sunday morning with a coffee and a paper. The chair is beautifully designed. Charles and Ray Eames...Read more

Review: 2015 Chrysler 200C
LeftLane News, August 13th

Eames chair-inspired wood panel trimming adds visual interest to the cabin, while on the centerstack, the 8.4-inch Uconnect screen displays audio, navigation, climate, telephone, apps and vehicle info. Surprisingly easy to use and pair with Bluetooth...Read more

Treating His House Like a Museum
New York Times, August 6th

The little cottage on Menomonee Street was built from a kit after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It is so small compared to the neighboring buildings that passers-by often can't help but stop and smile. Credit Jane Beiles for The New York Times...Read more

This Men's Brand Thinks It Knows What Women WANT
Racked National, August 6th

"Sometimes we think of ourselves as a solutions company over a design company," Byron Peart, one half of the design force behind bag line WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, told Racked as he and co-designer Dexter Peart walked us through the brand's first ...Read more

A Modern Take on an Iconic Eames Design
Architectural Digest (blog), August 5th

The Eames fiberglass shell chair silhouette has become so ingrained in the collective consciousness of modern design that it's difficult to imagine a time before it existed. Created by Charles and Ray Eames and first released in the 1950s through...Read more

High-End Homes: Contemporary and cast in concrete, Ada Township home is ...
Michigan Business Review -, August 2nd

A sitting area is outfitted with a comfy leather couch and Eames chair which faces a fireplace whose felt wall is designed to reduce the noise and echoes. The master suite on the main level is trimmed with cherry and bamboo. The master bathroom is...Read more

In buying retailer DWR, office-furniture maker Herman Miller aims to reach ...
MarketWatch (blog), July 31st

DWR: The Eames lounge chair and ottoman, designed in 1956 by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller and a midcentury-modern icon, has long been a fixture of DWR stores and catalogs. Herman Miller knows times have changed, and it can no longer ...Read more