Lounge Chair & Ottoman
by Charles en Ray Eames
Label: Vitra / Herman Miller
The Lounge Chair and Ottoman from Charles and Ray Eames is a
heavyweight among iconic designs, a powerful example of mid 20th century
design. The design of the chair was unique in the 50’s, for its, never before, used construction techniques alone. The Lounge Chair was the first product
designed for the high-end market in the 'Eames' collection. Charles Eames
intended the chair to resemble a well-used, soft baseball glove, in which the
user could sink back. Eames declared that the chair becomes even more beautiful
with age, although the opinions are divided about its appearance since it was
introduced. In Charles Eames own words: 'It has a sort of ugliness to it,
although it has apparently given a lot of pleasure to people'.
The first Lounge Chair and Ottoman was made as a present to
Billy Wilder. The filmmaker and furniture aficionado received the gift for his
50th birthday, Since then, the chair has been produced continuously. At
present, it is one of the bestsellers of Vitra and the American manufacturer
The Lounge Chair is a modern interpretation of the
old-fashioned English club armchair. The chair has evolved from an earlier
design of a plywood chair by Eames, which was entered in the design competition
‘Organic Design in Home Furnishings’ of the Modern Museum of Art in 1940.
The chair is created out of three layers of curved plywood,
with rubber spacers attached to the aluminium components. The five-legged
aluminum base can swivel. The seat cessions are finished in leather. The
Ottoman is the matching footstool. It is made from the same materials as the
Lounge Chair, although the Ottoman does not have a swiveling base. Nowadays,
the chair uses either Rosewood, Walnut or Palisander. The Lounge Chair is also
available with white upholstery. This variant is produced by Vitra in
collaboration with Hello Jongerius. Charles and Ray Eames have, in the past, experimented with different kinds of upholstery material for the Lounge Chair,
including with textiles.
Also read: ‘'The Eames Lounge Chair; an icon of modern
design', by M. Eidelberg.