5 Classic Eames Chair Styles You Should Know

Eames’s designs, which are synonymous with blue-chip mid-century modern, have inspired American architecture and furnishings for nearly eight decades. Eames furniture, designed and produced by Charles and Ray Eames, a married pair who collaborated from 1941 until 1978, continues to appeal to a wide audience and is highly prized for its simple, graceful forms and ageless comfort. 

While the Eames chair is undoubtedly their most well-known and iconic contribution, Charles and Ray also designed the interior and outside of their home, created decorative work in a range of media, and even invented a plywood leg sprint that was used by medical officials during WWII.

Charles and Ray Eames both believed that form follows function, regardless of media; or, as Charles phrased it, “Design addresses itself to the necessity.” With Eames style chair designs at the forefront, the Eames’ true interest in human form and experience led their artistic process and definitely helped to cement their reputation as two of America’s most beloved mid-century modern furniture designers.

5 Must-Have Eames Chair Designs

1. Charles and Ray Eames Molded Plywood Chair

During World War II, Charles and Ray worked with plywood extensively, creating leg splints and aircraft components to aid the war effort. In 1946, they designed the Eames Molded Plywood Chair, utilizing their expertise in the medium to create an exquisite form. The chair made its public debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it was shown in a tumbling machine to showcase its industrial strength and endurance. Its curving shape, which virtually wraps the user in a calm, upright posture, is recreated in later Eames chairs to meet a variety of consumer needs.

2. Fiberglass Eames Chair

During the 1950s, wood remained a popular material for furniture designers, but there was also an increase in interest in more modern and industrial-grade materials. During World War II, fiberglass, a type of glass-reinforced plastic, was widely employed to replace plywood in aircraft parts. Both mediums are lightweight, moldable, and long-lasting. For Charles and Ray, the transition from plywood to fiberglass was a natural one.

3. Charles and Ray Eames Wire Chair

In 1951, Charles and Ray Eames created the Eames Wire Chair, which was inspired by the growing use of wire in the 1950s. The shape of this chair is inspired by the Eames Fiberglass Chair, but it is achieved by a carefully crafted arrangement of intersecting wires. In many aspects, the Wire Chair was a response to the technical challenges that Charles and Ray Eames faced while designing the Fiberglass Shell Chair, which fractured along the sides due to the sitter’s weight.

4. Charles and Ray Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, possibly the most well-known Eames design, was debuted in 1956 and has been manufactured and sold by Herman Miller ever since. This chair was designed with “the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt” in mind, according to Eames Office.

5. Eames Aluminum Group Chair

The Eames Aluminum Group Chair was designed in 1958 at the request of their close friend Saarinen, who sought a chair that would complement his mid-century modern home. The chair’s frame is constructed of an aluminum cast in a single piece, and it is designed in the same way as the Eames Fiberglass Chair. This style, on the other hand, combines the comfort of leather with a sleek, office-appropriate appearance. Its functionality is also enhanced by the wheels at the bottom of the legs. All of these elements combine to create a multi-functional chair that is equally at home in the office as at home.

How to Find a Genuine Eames Chair?

Buying an Eames chair directly from a recognized auction house with professionals overseeing the sale is the best way to verify authenticity. On the underside of many Eames chairs, there are stickers or stencils denoting where the chair was made and sold. However, this is not always the case, so if in doubt, seek the advice of a decorative art expert to verify whether an Eames chair is genuine.

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