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”)
Work of Charles and Ray Eames
Herman Miller Consortium Collection
Buffalo Architecture and History
The Mid Century Modernist
Kentucky Online Arts Resource
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Eames Chairs
Source: Google News
5 Surprising Moments in the History of the Time and Life BuildingTIME, November 23rd
What happened was that the company commissioned Charles and Ray Eames to design the reception rooms for TIME in the new building, and their work included a Charles Eames chair. When editors moved into the space, the lore goes that they decided the ...Read more
Decorating Tips 5 Decor Tips for the Young, Design-Savvy Apartment DwellerCurbed National, November 18th
"Not having an authentic Eames chair at 25 is okay," Boodro laughs, adding that until the day comes when your budget allows for bonafide Eames designs, there are more affordable seating options that won't break the bank or affront your aesthetic ...Read more
Ron Frank dies at 84; Long Beach furnishings store was on modernism's leading edgeLos Angeles Times, November 14th
It wasn't just an Eames chair you were buying, but you were buying a kind of optimism. If you were shopping at Frank Bros., you were shopping for optimism." Frank's exhibitions and other innovations drew customers who were well-heeled as well as many ...Read more
Boulder-Based Sidfactor Scores With Modern CornholeWestword, November 13th
This “scaled-down version of a cornhole board,” as Rosenthal puts it, will be sold through Sidfactor's in-house brand, Red, Wood & Blue. Boards are constructed with American plywood in the same Michigan factory where Herman Miller's iconic Eames chair...Read more
Modern LoveW Magazine, November 9th
“I understand that people get tired of an Eames chair when they see it in every single ad,” Gabrielle says. “And I understand that kids, when they get older, are not going to want to have the same icons that their parents had. But the whole modernist...Read more
Why the Eames chair is still an undoubted design classicThe Independent, October 23rd
A Barbican exhibition celebrates four decades of iconic design by Charles and Ray Eames. Amira Hashish tries out the vintage styles. Amira Hashish; Friday 23 October 2015. The Eames chair is still a design classic Rex Features. The World of Charles and ...Read more
How To Get The Look Of A $419 Eames Chair For Under $60Huffington Post, September 29th
Ikea's newest catalog features three chairs in the Leifarne and Svenbertil collection that are reminiscent of the beloved Eames chair; and they're tagged at a fraction of the price. Sure, they don't carry the famous name. And true, they won't fool a...Read more
davone speakers reference classic charles and ray eames chairDesignboom, July 22nd
the eames lounge chair and ottoman was released in 1956 by designers charles and ray eames, and since then spawned generations of other products made of molded plywood and leather. influenced by the iconic modern style, danish company davone ...Read more