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CHARLES & RAY EAMES ICONIC LOUNGE CHAIR & OTTOMAN DEBUTS ON AMERICAN TV (1956)
The Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are furnishings made of molded plywood and leather, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company. They are officially titled Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671) and were released in 1956 after years of development by designers. It was the first chair that the Eames designed for a high-end market. Examples of these furnishings are part of the permanent collection of New Yorks Museum of Modern Art.
Charles and Ray Eames aimed to develop furniture that could be mass-produced and affordable, with the exception of the Eames Lounge Chair. This luxury item was inspired by the traditional English Club Chair. The Eames Lounge Chair has become iconic with Modern style design, although when it was first made, Ray Eames remarked in a letter to Charles that the chair looked comfortable and un-designy.
Charles vision was for a chair with the warm, receptive look of a well-used first basemans mitt. The chair is composed of three curved plywood shells: the headrest, the backrest and the seat. In modern production, the shells are made up of five thin layers of plywood which are covered by a Brazilian rosewood veneer. The layers are glued together and shaped under heat and pressure.
Earlier models are differentiated from newer models by the sets of rubber spacers between the aluminum spines and the wood panels first used in the earliest production models (and then hard plastic washers used in later versions) early first series versions of the chair used three screws to secure the armrests, second series models used two. In the earlier models, the zipper around the cushions may have been brown or black as well, and in newer models the zippers are black. The shells and the seat cushions are essentially the same shape, and composed of two curved forms interlocking to form a solid mass. The chair back and headrest are identical in proportion, as are the seat and the ottoman. Early ottomans had removable rubber slide on feet with metal glides
Aw yeah, look who found an Eames chair sale?
That is right, WE found an Eames chair sale! We know we have spent a lot of time talking about this fantastic chair, but it deserves the kudos! What other chair do you know of that looks so good and feels so good? What other chair can serve as an office chair AND a chair to relax in while you watch TV?
With the introduction of new materials and manufacturing methods the chairs construction has evolved during almost 60 years it has been in mass production. Based on these structural and visual cues, such as the number of screws under the armrest (only the very first series had three screws under the armrest, all the other series have two), it is possible to derive the approximate age of a given chair. And why is this be important? Besides the general condition, the age is one of the key factors determining vintage chairs market value. With relatively few chairs initially manufactured in the early days, the older a chair, more valuable it is. Quite simple, is not it?
Eames Chair restorations and repairs
The Eames Lounge chair & ottoman was designed by Charles & Ray Eames in 1956 for the Herman Miller furniture company. The first chair that Eames designed for the high-end market, it is made of molded plywood and leather and is part of the permanent collection of New Yorks Museum of Modern Art.
These pieces are often prized possessions and if taken care of properly, will last decades. However, even with care, these beautiful chairs & ottomans require a tune-up. The restoration, repair & reupholstery of Eames chairs & ottoman is one of our specialties, and something our workshop is constantly involved in.
After posting some of our Womb Chair restorations and repairs, I thought Id share some of the amazing transformations we have done for our clients with Eames chair restorations & repairs.
Here are some photos of Eames chairs when they come into our workshop, in desperate need of TLC!
Eames Chair Revisited
On February 21st I wrote a tragic blog posting
called “The Eames Chair Saga” about how I broke Daves Eames Chair. In half!
As you may remember, Dave bought his chair in the 70s. It is an icon and rock star of chairs among architects and others.
The Herman Miller Store is the place to buy Eames Chairs and, apparently, the only place to have them repaired. Fortunately, there is an outlet around 30 miles from our place. We took the chair to the outlet. They, in turn, ordered a new shell from the Herman Miller Headquarters in Zeland, Michigan. The chair was then reassembled. – good as new. I hope!
This process took only two – maybe three – months.
Anyway, here it is. As you can see, Dave is reading the Steve Jobs book.
Jobs was a complex man who helped change
the world for the better but also had some disturbing
personal habits (like not wearing shoes.)
But, to Jobs credit, Daves discovered,
in reading the book, that Steve Jobs also loved his Eames Chair.