Design Classic: Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman
THE EAMES LOUNGE CHAIR – WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?
The ‘Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671)’ is widely considered one of the most significant designs of the twentieth century. Designed by the renowned husband and wife duo Charles and Ray Eames, the lounge’s timeless design has seen it comfortably existing in every era since its initial release in 1965 for the Herman Miller furniture company. As a result, it has been in continuous production since it’s release and it remains a coveted item by every homeowner today.
The lounge is made of molded plywood and leather. The chair won the first prize at the Milan Triennial of 1957 and was accepted into the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1960.
THE DESIGNERS – JUST WHO WERE RAY AND CHARLES EAMES?
Ray and Charles Eames and their associated designers formed a legendary design institution that produced some of the best design work ever to appear on the American scene. They were responsible for thousands of brilliant ideas, toys, exhibits and designs that still influence architecture and design today.
THE STORY BEHIND THE DESIGN
The story behind the design of the Eames Lounge began during World War II, when access to military technology and manufacturing facilities allowed Ray and Charles Eames to pioneer a brand new process of heating wood into molded curves. As a result, the Eames design studio produced countless designs that were easily mass-produced and affordable. Using the same technique, the Eames Lounge and Ottoman was their first luxury item for the high-end market.
It was the Eames’ friendship with the great Hollywood director Billy Wilder that inspired their concept for the Lounge and Ottoman. They observed Wilder’s need for a comfortable, durable yet elegant chair in which he could retreat and take short naps in between filming. The resulting chair was influenced by the traditional English Club Chair and Charles’ vision to create a chair with a “warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.”
WANT ONE? – WHERE TO BUY AN EAMES LOUNGE CHAIR TODAY
Today, Herman Miller and Vitra remain the only two companies with the rights to produce the authentic Eames Lounge and Ottoman. Second hand originals are also available through re-sellers, although older chairs will be significantly higher in value and therefore cost more. Replicas are also available, although beware of cheap overseas products which use inferior upholstery and hardware. Matt Black is a reputable dealer of replicas ( Matt Blatt ). Or perhaps try another recliner inspired by the Eames Lounge and Ottoman, such as kmfurniture ( kmfurniture).
The Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman
The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman fits into todays living spaces with style and grace. Image via Design You Trust