Sunday, March 29, 2009

More On Charles and Ray Eames-Icons of Design

The Eames CASE STUDY House, Pacific Palisades California
Charles and Ray Eames designed and built their own home in 1949. It was part of the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts and Architecture Magazine. Thanks to their design and innovative use of materials, this house is a mecca for architects and designers from all over the world. For information on touring the Eames Case Study House go here:

La Chaise, 1948
Designed in 1948 for MoMA's International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design, and inspired by Gaston Lachaise's 1927 sculpture 'Floating Figure', this organically-shaped chair has become a design icon. At the time it was too expensive to manufacture and so it had to wait until 1990 to be produced in small quantities. Only for those who can afford it as it costs almost 6000 Euro.

Aluminum Group Chairs, 1958
The chairs in the Aluminum Group are among the most famous creations by Charles and Ray Eames.

The Plastic Chair Group, 1948
Plastic Armchairs were first presented as part of the famed New York Museum of Modern Art competition, 'Low Cost Furniture Design'.

Eames Plastic Armchair, 1948
A landmark design consisting out of organic shapes. A clean, simple form sculpted to fit the body; first presented at the Museum of Modern Art in 1948. It was the first plastic chair to be mass produced and is still very popular in todays interiors.

Wire Chairs DKR and DKX, 1951
Between 1950 and 1952, Charles and Ray Eames began investigating bent steel wire and various welding techniques as a basis for a new kind of furniture. After much experimentation, they molded a wire shell seat using cross-woven steel wires and mounted it on a bent-wire base.

Designers Charles and Ray Eames established their long and legendary relationship with Herman Miller in 1946 with the boldly original molded plywood dining and lounge chairs. Since then, the aesthetic integrity, enduring charm, and comfort of the chairs have earned them recognition as the best of modern design.

In the early 1940s, when Charles Eames was working on MGM set designs, he would return to the small apartment where he and his wife, Ray, were experimenting with wood-molding techniques that would have profound effects on the design world. Their discoveries led to a commission from the U.S. Navy in 1942 to develop plywood splints, stretchers, and glider shells molded under heat and pressure. After World War II, they adapted the technology to create inexpensive, high-quality chairs that could be mass-produced. The process eliminated the extraneous wood needed to connect the seat with the back, which reduced the weight and visual profile of the chair and established a basis for modern furniture design. The chair is in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art

Eames Lounge and Ottoman
In continuous production since its introduction in 1956, the Eames Lounge Chair is widely considered one of the most significant designs of the 20th century. It was the culmination of Charles and Ray Eames' efforts to create a club chair using the molded plywood technology that they pioneered in the '40s. In Charles Eames' words, the vision was a chair with the "warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt." The result has become the consummate lounge set, timelessly blending old-fashioned comfort and visionary modernism. Pairing soft, inviting leather with the sleek form of molded plywood, the seat is balanced on a five-star, die-cast aluminum base.


Sandrac said...

Interesting story, Barb. The chair designs have become so common-place, but it's interesting to think about their origins.

barb cabot said...

Interesting to think how forward thinking their original designs were during the decades of the 40's and 50's.

Annabelle said...

I love Eames. I could never afford it though--have you seen Great site. I love the chairs AND the prices.

barb cabot said...

Annabelle thanks for the tip on I hadn't known about that before. Great. Obviously I have a great love for Eames designs as well.

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff, check out the wide range of Apartment Furniture from

barb cabot said...

Thanks Zane, I'll check that site out.

Laurie said...

You know, I totally daydream about walking into Goodwill and finding one of these...

barb cabot said...

Laurie, I think that is totally within the realm of possibility.

Mary from the Prairie said...

I remember when I was a child my dad had a lounge and ottoman similar to the last picture in this post! (although I'd venture to guess that it was a knock-off since I'm sure we couldn't afford the real thing...)

barb cabot said...

Mary from the Prairie, it's such a great design that I'm sure it was beautiful knock-off or not. When I would watch the old tv show Frasier he had a beautiful looking Eames lounge chair in his apartment. It's a classic.

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