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

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]

Chipstone

Chipstone

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

Get a taste of how homes were lit in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Danish retro-style lighting designs featured on… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Herman Miller Eames Lounge & Ottoman Tall Black Vicenza Leather/walnutEames Lounge & Ottoman Ivory Vicenza Leather Walnut Herman Miller Midcentury DwrHerman Miller Charles Eames Rosewood Lounge Chair And OttomanEames Molded Fiberglass Dowel-leg Side Chair Parchment (dfsw) Set Of 2 DwrEames Aluminum Management Chair Black Leather Pneumatic Lift Design Within ReachPair Orig 40s 50s Charles Eames Dcw Evans Herman Miller Plywood Lounge Chairs NrEames Aluminum Executive Chair Espresso Leather Herman Miller Dwr MidcenturyEames Aluminum Group Lounge Chair Outdoor White Herman Miller Midcentury ModernPair Orig 40s 50s Charles Eames Lcw Evans Herman Miller Plywood Lounge Chairs NrEames Molded Fiberglass Dowel-leg Side Chair Lemon Yellow (dfsw) Set Of 2 DwrEames Aluminum Group Lounge Chair Black Leather Herman Miller Midcentury ModernEames Executive Chair Time Life Ivory Vicenza Leather Herman Miller Modern DwrEames Molded Fiberglass 4-leg Side Chair (dfsx) Navy Herman Miller MidcenturyRare Eames Lounge Chair For Herman Miller,zenith Elephant Grey Rope Edge C00lEames Molded Fiberglass Wire-base Side Chair (dfsr) Ultramarine Blue Set Of 2Eames Molded Wood Side Chair Palisander Black Base Herman Miller Dwr Mid CenturyEames Aluminum Management Chair White Leather Herman Miller Design Within ReachVintage Eames Herman Miller Aluminum Group Management Soft Pad ChairEames Aluminum Executive Chair Pneumatic Lift Slate Leather Herman Miller DwrEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) Red Orange/chrome Herman Miller DwrRocker Base For Eames Fiberglass Chair By ModernicaEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) White/chrome Base Herman Miller DwrEames Aluminum Group Management Chair Black Mesh Herman Miller Dwr ModernEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) Black/black Base Herman Miller DwrEames Aluminum Executive Chair Pneumatic Lift White Leather/frame Herman MillerEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) Charcoal/chrome Base Herman MillerEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) Blue Ice/chrome Base Dwr ModernEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) Peacock/black Base Herman MillerEames Aluminum Executive Chair Pneumatic Lift Black Leather Herman Miller Dwr2007 Herman Miller Eames Aluminum Group Chair Zinc Cygnus Mesh Clean! NrEiffel Tower Base For Eames Fiberglass Chair By ModernicaEames Mid Century Modern Danish Plycraft Rare Office ChairEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) Sparrow/chrome Base Herman MillerEames Chair Either Original Or Top Of The Line Copy With Ottoman Excellent ShapeBlack Herman Miller Eames Fiberglass Swivel ChairEames Molded Plastic Eiffel Side Chair (dsr) Kelly Green/chrome Base Dwr Modern3 1957 Herman Miller Eames Shell ChairsVtg Mid Century Modern Retro Herman Miller Eames Fiberglass Arm Chair Seat OnlyHerman Miller Eames Art Deco Modern Vintage Fiberglass Chairs White 60's Era

Recent News: Eames Chairs

Source: Google News

Opinionator | Just One More Question
New York Times (blog), February 2nd

The next day, I returned and sat across from him in the Eames chair reserved for patients who sat upright during sessions. I asked if he was all right. He told me that he had consulted his doctor, who diagnosed a transient ischemic attack — a kind of...Read more

The Chair That Eames Built
Palm Springs Life, February 1st

In the documentary film Eames: The Architect and the Painter, the then-editor of Dwell magazine, Sam Grawe, says without irony or embarrassment, “There has probably been an Eames chair in every issue we've ever published.” Movies, commercials, print ...Read more

Tracing The Long, Controversial History Of Organic Design
Co.Design, January 26th

In 1941, the Museum of Modern Art in New York put on a show that is now legendary: Organic Design in Home Furnishings. Curated by Elliot Noyes, the museum's first industrial design curator and protégée of Bauhaus director Walter Gropius, the...Read more

Planet Eames
Metropolis Magazine, January 25th

A sprawling retrospective of design's favorite duo reveals how conscious they were of the power of their own image. Shumi Bose. Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed. Opened in late October at London's Barbican Art Gallery, The World of...Read more

Discount of Eames chair and more
Evening Standard, January 20th

The furniture and lighting specialists have a wide range of ex-display and stock items from Vitra, Knoll, Fritz Hansen and many more, with discounts of up to 65 per cent. The Eames soft pad EA 217 chair, above, from Vitra, is now £1,499, down from £2,415...Read more

Price of classic style is going up
The Times (subscription), January 18th

The price of furniture design classics such as the Eames chair and the Arco floor lamp is expected to increase as much as tenfold this year following a change in copyright laws. The length of time a design is protected by copyright is being extended...Read more

Mohawk to Celebrate 70th Anniversary of Superfine with Campaign, Series of Events
Printing Impressions (press release), January 14th

The first Eames chair, designed by husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, was produced in 1946, creating a classic for the Herman Miller furniture company. A futuristic, two-piece swimsuit called the bikini debuted in Paris during the summer of ...Read more

How To Get The Look Of A $419 Eames Chair For Under $60
Huffington 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