The lounge chair by Charles & Ray Eames
We no longer need to introduce you to the mythical couple of 20th century design, namely Charles & Ray Eames! We regularly devote articles to this fabulous duo; we started by introducing you to their lives and then we gave you tips on how to recognize an original fiberglass chair and the La Chaise chair. Today, we would like to focus on one of the most famous pieces of the Eames: the splendid Lounge Chair, an armchair that has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide!
Who hasn’t seen this chair in an interior, in a magazine or even in the cinema? A timeless design icon, this chair can boast of being as beautiful as it is comfortable! The adventure began in 1940. The Museum of Modern Art in New York launched a competitionentitled “Organic design in home furnishing” in which many designers took part, including the Eames. The duo proposed several prototypes based on a completely new technique: moulded plywood. However, it was not until 1956 that the Lounge Chair was officially designed.
Also known as the Lounge Chair 670 and Ottoman 671 for its footrest version, it is the couple’s answer to the desire to modernise the traditional club chair. This desire led them to think hard about the choice of materials, the shape and the different stages of manufacture. Charles Eames wanted it to “have the warm look and appeal of a worn first base baseball glove”! Judge for yourself by watching the official presentation of the Lounge Chair on the American channel NBC:
It was an immediate success: the Lounge Chair won the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennial in 1957 and found its place in the MoMA ‘s collection of design objects in 1960.
In America, Herman Miller has been the sole publisher of the chair since 1956. In Europe, Herman Miller was the first publisher (from 1999 to 1956) and then Vitra bought the license in 1984 and continues to produce this design classic today. The exceptional quality of the Lounge Chair is the result of ingenious design. The chair consists of three moulded plywood shells, veneered with rosewood or rosewood (cherry, santos rosewood or black lacquer for Vitra editions). These shells are connected to metal elements by means of hardened rubber buffers. The leather upholstery varies according to the publisher:Herman Miller uses feather upholstery, while Vitra uses foam upholstery. The size of the Lounge Chair has increased by 10 cm since its creation. Vitra offers two versions in two different sizes to accommodate taller people. Since its creation, the Lounge Chair has been available in many different combinations of colours, leather, wood and legs.
The Lounge Chair has been triumphant around the world for 61 years now. It is a classic in the history of furniture, a fabulous icon whose key to success is the couple’s fierce determination to offer a very high quality chair that perfectly combines aesthetics and comfort.