When Charles and Ray Eames arrived in Los Angeles California in 1941, they turned a spare room in their apartment into a design workshop so they could experiment with molded plywood forms. Their end goal was to develop a way of mass producing well designed affordable furniture.
During the Second World War, Charles and Ray Eames developed a process of making molded plywood splints for the U.S. Navy. It was this combination of experience and experimentation that led to the design two of their most famous chairs, the Eames Molded Plywood Recliners.
At some point in the early 1950’s the Eames’ decided to develop a larger upholstered lounge chair, similar to those found in men’s clubs but with a more contemporary aesthetic. Charles Eames says that “the motivation behind most of the things we’ve done was either that we wanted them ourselves, or we wanted to give them to someone else, and the way to make that practical is to have that gift manufactured… the lounge chair for example, was really done as a present for a friend, Director Billy Wilder, and has since been reproduced.”
The now iconic Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman has since been in continuous production by Herman Miller ever since. The molded plywood shell finished with walnut veneer, and black leather upholstery became a status symbol. The chair over the last decade has been depicted by magazines, newspapers and broadcast as a symbol of power for movie moguls, celebrities, powerful businessmen, and the eternally hip, for those who seek to project and air of informal, but total control. Since its inception, this chair has evolved to become the height of luxury and comfort and one of the most important and enduring design icons of the 20th century.
This book examines the designs of Charles and Ray Eames with beautiful photographs and illustrations, and documents the evolution of the Lounge Chair from its origins to the current version produced by Herman Miller. The book and places the chair in its cultural, historical and social context, and includes insightful interviews of people involved in making the Lounge Chair and observations on its transformation into a Modernist icon.
Charles Eames was often asked to explain the Chair. One of his most quoted lines was that he wanted it to have “the warm receptive look of a well-worn first baseman’s mitt.” Anyone who has owned the Lounge Chair will tell you — it is timeless and it simply gets better with age.
The original Chair has evolved to include a larger version for taller people with leather in chocolate, and a white leather version that was originally conceived by Charles and Ray Eames, but not originally put into production.
The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design, by Pat Kirkham, Thomas Hine, David Hanks, Martin Eidelberg, Hardcover, Dimensions: 25 x 25 cm, Pages: 192
Published by, BIS Publishers
Buy it here: Amazon