Charles & Ray Eames Lounge Chair Manufacturing
Published on August 15, 2012
‘Why don’t we make an updated version of the old English club chair?’ With this comment, Charles Eames initiated the development of the Lounge Chair, a process that took several years. The aim was to satisfy the desire for an amply proportioned chair that combined ultimate comfort with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. With the design of this armchair in 1956, Charles and Ray Eames set new standards: it is not only lighter, more elegant and more modern than the conventionally ponderous club chair – it is also more comfortable. Thanks to these qualities, the Lounge Chair became one of the most famous designs of Charles and Ray Eames and has attained the status of a classic in the history of modern furniture.
When they were conceptualizing the chair, Charles explained that the designers wanted it to have the “warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.” As Charles and Ray’s home provided the backdrop for the couple’s gracious hosting of a famously eclectic group of friends and associates, providing “a special refuge from the strains of modern living,” so too the lounge chair and ottoman were conceived to provide welcoming comfort to the body.
The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman debuted on national television in 1956. Charles and Ray Eames appeared on the NBC television network Home show hosted by Arlene Francis. Stardom ensued for both design and designers. Yet, as popular as the lounge chair and ottoman have become, they remain grounded in the handcrafted details that continue to distinguish this classic, authentic design.
Part of the permanent collections at New York’s MoMA and the Art Institute of Chicago, the chair and ottoman have been the subject of documentary films and books; they were the sole subject of a museum show at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York. They are featured prominently in television series and stylish movie interiors. Although the word “icon” is overused, it’s exactly the right word in describing the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman.