American designers Charles and Ray Eames made this lounge chair and ottoman as a gift for a friend in 1956 and has been in continuous production by Herman Miller ever since. (And numerous knock-offs abound).
After painstaking trial and error in working with the relatively new technology of molded plywood, the husband and wife duo soon became famous for using it for some of the most exquisite yet attainable furniture of the time. Unlike many of the modern furniture designs of modernist movement, this chair was not only beautiful but was also built for comfort. If you’ve ever sat it one, you know what I’m talking about. Charles Eames’ vision for the chair was “the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.”
Made of molded rosewood, 7 layers of plywood, leather, cast aluminum, rubber shock mounts, and stainless steel glides, there was nothing like it at the time. Now , over 50 years later, it is as fresh and unique as it was when it first debuted (though now, as Rosewood is an endangered species and no longer legally forested, it is made responsibly with the use of Palisander veneer, a fast-growing hardwood). You can see this and other timeless pieces of modern furniture at MoMA’s permanent furniture collection in NYC.
The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design. Merrell Holberton 2006
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