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.
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Recent News: Eames Chairs
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'Chairs' art exhibit opens Aug. 7 in SebastopolSanta Rosa Press Democrat, July 28th
The center will present sculptor and storyteller Llisa Demetrios, speaking at 6:20 p.m. Aug, 27 on the lives and careers of of her grandparents Charles and Ray Eames, leaders in mid-20th-century modern design and creators of the famous “Eames Chair”...Read more
Aaron Kai :: Catching Waves at the Artist's First Pop-Up Exhibition in L.A.The Hundreds, July 26th
The exhibition includes more than 15 colorful new works—such as an undulating floral design that Kai painted on an Eames chair—as well as original prints and exclusive merchandise. “I'm really hyped off this pop up,” Aaron explains in the following ...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
Cultivating Home Amidst a Large, Lush West Village GardenCurbed NY, July 20th
Tishgart says she has a penchant for midcentury stuff—as do many these days—and that shows up in the molded plastic Eames chair she found through Instagram and the light-burst lamp from Restoration Hardware that stands in the corner. Tishgart also ...Read more
That Stealthy Spider-Man Reference and Every Other 'Ant-Man' Easter Egg We ...Yahoo News, July 17th
By now you know the drill: A Marvel movie comes out and, to serve the fan-folk, the filmmakers cram in all sorts of comic-book references, callbacks to previous films, and clues to upcoming events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Ant-Man going...Read more
Great comedy, great design: Michael Shank on 'Frasier' impactLancasterOnline, July 16th
Even with the "apartment's" open floor plan, Shank says, the view was broken up visually: A few steps up to an elevated platform that fronted an expansive balcony view (and held Frasier's Eames chair, a sleek midcentury design that was a marked...Read more
Shop at One Kings Lane in Real LifeArchitectural Digest (blog), July 1st
Is that amazingly inexpensive Eames chair actually meant for a five-year-old? Vignette. The space is organized in six vignettes, roughly modeled on rooms in a house. A rustic, collected kitchen is shown here. Now buyers in New York City have the option...Read more
The Eames' Iconic Molded Plastic Chair, Sawed in Half and Turned Into a LoveseatCurbed National, March 12th
Improving upon an Eames chair is nearly impossible, but last year the North Carolina firm of Clark Nexsen ingeniously turned the DSR side chair into a two-person love seat for a design competition co-sponsored by Herman Miller, manufacturer of Eames ...Read more