written by:
February 4, 2015
The molded plywood chair that became an American icon.
Eames lounge and ottoman

The smooth curves of molded plywood on the Eames Lounge and Ottoman were unprecedented in furniture design at the time.

Courtesy of 
Alex Ronan
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Charles Eames Visiting the Herman Miller Factory

Charles Eames (right) visiting the Herman Miller factory, where the Eames Lounge and Ottoman has been produced since its 1956 debut. 

Courtesy of 
Herman Miller
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"Soft Seating," 1959 Advertisement for the Charles Eames Lounge Set

A 1959 advertisement for the Lounge set emphasizes its comfort. Another ad from the era reads “A good chair, nowadays, is hard to find,” and suggests that it’s “the only modern chair designed to relax you in the tradition of the good old club chair.” Charles took on the project because he was “fed up with the complaints that modern isn’t comfortable.”

Courtesy of 
Herman Miller
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Herman Miller Factory Employees in the 1970s

Employees at the Herman Miller factory polish the molded plywood shells in the seventies. 

Courtesy of 
Herman Miller
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Charles Eames Chairs Production Today

Production today continues in much the same way. 

Courtesy of 
Herman Miller
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hollywood cabin loft living room

Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser gives a nod to the show’s midcentury roots with an Eames Lounge in the living room of his Hollywood cabin.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in The Tiny Hollywood Home of Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser
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The living room's floor-to-ceiling windows allow plenty of natural light in and offer a clear view of the woods to the rear of the property. Carver is a fan of taxidermy and his stuffed vixen has attracted a number of real-life suitors. The fox (behind th

The owners of this modern home on the outskirts of London, adorned with an Eames Lounge, originally planned to use it as a weekend getaway, but after completing renovations, they couldn’t imagine leaving on Sunday afternoons. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Heart of the Country
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modern living room connecticut

The living room of this Connecticut cottage is decorated with iconic modernist pieces, like the Eames Lounge in white, the Saarinen Womb chair, and an Eileen Grey E1027 side table. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Striking Angular Cottage in Connecticut
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Tung takes in the wooded view from the house’s back deck. Inside, the Goetz sofa, Eames lounge chair and ottoman, and Aalto stool are all from Herman Miller.The rug and throw are by Emma Gardner.

The Dwell Home, a prefab house built for an invitational design competition, features the Eames Lounge and Ottoman. The set provides classic style and a comfortable seating option without blocking too much of the view. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Prefab, Proven
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minimalist brooklyn apartment

The Eames Lounge sits across a fiberglass chair designed by Richard Conover in this Brooklyn home.

Originally appeared in 7 Carefully Curated Interiors
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Eames lounge and ottoman

The smooth curves of molded plywood on the Eames Lounge and Ottoman were unprecedented in furniture design at the time.

Charles and Ray Eames often visited their friend Billy Wilder on his film sets. While working, the famed director would put together a makeshift lounge chair so that he could nap between takes. Something about his jerry-rigged seat struck a chord with the duo.

The couple already had significant experience working with plywood. Applying heat and pressure, Charles and Ray had molded it for use by the U.S. Navy during WWII. Following the war, they continued to experiment with the material. The resulting smooth curves of molded plywood on the Eames Lounge and Ottoman were unprecedented in furniture design at the time. The chair is upholstered in leather and has an aluminum base.

When it debuted on Arlene Francis’ Home show in 1956, she called it “quite a departure” from the designers' earlier creations. The lounge set came about during a period of very spare and minimal furniture, but Charles was insistent on building a chair with “the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt,” one that would provide respite from the “strains of modern living.” In a letter to Charles, Ray wrote that the chair looked “comfortable and un-designy.” Despite its humble origins, the Eames Lounge and Ottoman are in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The first completed set was gifted to Billy Wilder, and is produced by Herman Miller.

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