The Eames Chair- How A Molded Plywood Chair Became An American Icon.

 Whether authentic or replicated, there is a distinctive look and feel to this iconic chair. Photo taken at Jewel by  Brookfield Residential  Playa Vista, CA

Whether authentic or replicated, there is a distinctive look and feel to this iconic chair. Photo taken at Jewel by Brookfield Residential Playa Vista, CA

Some designers abandon history, some borrow from it, while others design the future. At Design Line Interiors we take great pride in being ahead of the latest trends in home interiors, but there are some designs so iconic, that they simply never go out of style. One such icon is The Eames Chair.

In 1955 Charles and Ray Eames were visiting their friend Billy Wilder on the set of one of his films. While working, the famed director put together a makeshift lounge chair so that he could nap between takes. Something about his jerry-rigged seat struck a chord with the duo and they made a decision to create something similar

 A 1959 advertisement for the Lounge set emphasizes its comfort. Another ad from the era reads "A good chair, nowadays, is hard to find," and suggests that it’s "the only modern chair designed to relax you in the tradition of the good old club chair." Charles took on the project because he was "fed up with the complaints that modern isn’t comfortable."

A 1959 advertisement for the Lounge set emphasizes its comfort. Another ad from the era reads "A good chair, nowadays, is hard to find," and suggests that it’s "the only modern chair designed to relax you in the tradition of the good old club chair." Charles took on the project because he was "fed up with the complaints that modern isn’t comfortable."

The two men already had significant experience working with plywood. Applying heat and pressure, Charles and Ray had molded it for use by the U.S. Navy during WWII. Following the war, they continued to experiment with the material. The resulting smooth curves of molded plywood on the Eames Lounge and Ottoman were unprecedented in furniture design at the time. The chair is upholstered in leather and has an aluminum base.

  Production today continues in much the same way.

Production today continues in much the same way.

"When it debuted on Arlene Francis’ Home show in 1956, she called it "quite a departure" from the designers' earlier creations. The lounge set came about during a period of very spare and minimal furniture, but Charles was insistent on building a chair with "the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt," one that would provide respite from the "strains of modern living." In a letter to Charles, Ray wrote that the chair looked "comfortable and un-designy." Despite its humble origins, the Eames Lounge and Ottoman are in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The first completed set was gifted to Billy Wilder, and is produced by Herman Miller." ~ Dwell Magazine

 Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser gives a nod to the show’s midcentury roots with an Eames Lounge in the living room of his Hollywood cabin.  Photo: Joe Pugliese

Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser gives a nod to the show’s midcentury roots with an Eames Lounge in the living room of his Hollywood cabin.

Photo: Joe Pugliese

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Susie Saladino