Ray and Charles Eames loved to experiment. The two American designers, a couple at home and the office were curious. While Charles was an architect with an analytical and practical mind, Ray was the artist who first studied expressionism and then put her skills into fabrics, movies, and furniture. Their differences made them more robust, allowing them to become trendsetters.
This couple of designers inspired the industry and young generations for decades, teaching people that creativity and curiosity aren’t a flaw. On the contrary: they are qualities. The Eames Lounge Chair results from the couple’s experiments and love for functionality.
Since Ray and Charles Eames liked to create new styles and exploit the technologies of the industrial era and style, they started experimenting with plywood. This material, which was innovative for the 50s, had many qualities. First of all, it’s solid and stable. It’s also a resistant material, made to last and resist water, fire, and chemicals. Just as important is the plywood’s flexibility, which makes it ideal for ergonomic furniture.
The Eames Lounge Chair is all of this and more. It’s strong, resistant, and bendable. It’s flexible, durable, and stable. This is why it was an innovation in 1956 when it was first designed and produced. This piece of furniture is made of three curved plywood shells, made to adapt to the body. The two American designers decided to pad it with buttoned black leather upholstery for a sophisticated touch. Finally, it’s filled with foam and feathers for maximum comfort.
A second version of the Eames Lounge Chair came with an ottoman, perfect for relaxing after a long day at the office. This piece of the set is a single curved shell with rubber shock mounts as connectors, flexible and robust. Comfortable and elegant, this chair by the couple of designers was an instant success. People all over the world loved its clean lines, sophisticated materials like leather, and the comfort of an ergonomic chair.
The Story Behind It
This piece of furniture had a long history well before it reached the bigger public. In fact, its first prototype dates back to 1940, and it was supposed to be one piece. Then, the Eames took a liking to design furniture and chairs. So, they started creating different versions of the model. Until they made the 1956 version for the Herman Miller Showroom. More production pieces, more choice for the people.
The furniture company believed so much in the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman that it debuted it on TV. Charles Eames himself went on television to promote his work. He participated in the “Home Show,” where both he and his creations made an impression. For the 50s, this chair was expensive, with a price tag of $404. It wasn’t accessible to everyone, but its characteristics made it a success. The Eames Lounge Chair is a high-end and high-quality product, which sold out quickly.
Thanks to its success, other companies relaunched it on the market. After Herman Miller, it was the turn of Vitra, which debuted the chair in Europe. In Italy, the company ICF also produced it. The secret of the fame of the Eames Lounge Chair is its comfort and beauty. It represents designers like Ray and Charles Eames, but also Eero Saarinen. These designers shared similar interests and characteristics. For example, they weren’t afraid to experiment with new materials like plywood, and they weren’t scared of being alternative.