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Understanding the Structure of the Famous Eames Lounge Chair
Understanding the Structure of the Famous Eames Lounge Chair

Introduced in 1956 by the famous mid-century modern designers, Charles and Ray Eames, the Eames lounge chair has become one of the most influential furniture pieces of the 20th century. Even though Ray Eames once humorously described it as ‘comfortable and un-designy,’ the Eames Lounger chair has become so iconic that it’s officially trademarked. Over nearly seventy years, this chair has become a favorite among design enthusiasts and business leaders, made appearances in numerous movies, and has become a lasting symbol of cultural significance.

When does a chair become more than just furniture? When it embodies iconic American design and represents status, success, authority, and good taste. The Eames Lounge Chair encompasses all these qualities and, to top it off, offers a plush and comfortable seating experience.

The Eames, who met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit (a hub for Mid-Century design visionaries like Florence Knoll and Eero Saarinen), created numerous beloved chairs. However, their collection had a scarcity of upholstered seats, making the Eames lounger stand out even more. Adorned with lavish leather cushions and a sleek ergonomic design, the Eames lounger was crafted to epitomize luxury. The Eames duo spared no expense in designing this chair, originally using a minimum of five layers of Brazilian rosewood—a rare material that temporarily halted chair production when an embargo was placed on rosewood in 1992. Today, Eames lounge chairs are celebrated for their exceptional craftsmanship and patented design. Let’s delve into what makes this chair a highly sought-after symbol of prestige.

Watch as the chair is debuted on NBC’s “Home” show broadcast in 1956.  




Anatomy of an Eames Lounge Chair

The Eames lounge chair is crafted from three gently curved plywood shells that provide excellent support for the body. It features individual shells for the headrest, lumbar support, and seat, all cushioned with luxurious leather upholstery. While the Eames lounger has a straightforward design, its exceptional craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail are what make it a truly prestigious chair.

What Materials Are Used for Eames Chairs?

When creating their designs, the Eames couple always prioritized cost-effectiveness. Classic Eames chairs are crafted from materials like plastic, plywood, mesh, fiberglass, and aluminum. However, for their lounge chair, they set aside budget constraints and chose only the finest leather, wood, and metals to meet their high-quality standards.

Now, the Eames chair offers a combination of leather and sustainable wood.

Options in Leather and Wood:

To enhance the elegance of this timeless classic, the Eames lounge chair can be personalized with a choice of four wood veneers and twenty leather options. This wide selection allows designers and homeowners nearly limitless opportunities to add their unique touch.

What Makes Eames Chairs So Comfortable?

The Eames lounge chair’s signature innovation is the patented “shock mounts.” Arguably the most critical contributing factors towards the chair’s legendary comfort, shocks are heavy rubber washers with nuts inside that are glued to the backrest of the chair and screwed into the lumbar support. This isolates various pieces of the chair and allows it to bend and flex slightly with the body (not unlike a rocking chair). This, combined with the signature Eames chair base, a five-legged, cast aluminum pedestal, creates a relaxing, weightless experience.

Additionally, Eames lounge chairs are covered with leather tufted with wide buttons—softening the leather so that it’s accommodating and compliant from the very first use. Last, but not least, the ottoman also plays a formidable role in the Eames lounge chair’s comfort score. After a long day of standing or sitting, propping one’s legs up on an ottoman is known to increase blood circulation from the legs to the torso.

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