Friday, May 1, 2009

MCM Furniture Friday - Charles Eames

Charles Eames occupied a unique position in the design world from 1940 when he and Saarinen won the competition for the design of a chair by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But it is not just for his designs that he is important. Eames, and his wife and partner Ray Eames, achieved something much more rare: they caused a shift in the way we look at everything. Part of the secret of the Eames' success was that the items he picked for display were never from the world of high-art. Perhaps only Los Angeles, with its free-wheeling cultural ambiance and its questioning of European values, could have nurtured and sustained such a frankly hedonist, and whimsical, approach to design.

Charles Eames and his wife and design partner Ray. Man I wish I were around in the 40's, this couple looks like they really knew how to party!

Probably one of the most well known Eames chair is the molded plywood lounge chair and ottoman designed in 1956. Charles intended for this chair to have a "warm, receptive look of a well-used first basemen's mit". Despite the high price based on the fact the original prototype was upgraded with more individual pieces that made up the chair that combined factory technologies with expensive hand labor and craftsmanship, this chair became one of the best selling designs for Herman Miller.

Eames Lounge Chair

Eames Lounge Chair v2.Pug??

"XLounge," a fat chair version of the classic 1956 chair by Charles and Ray Eames, as reworked by Mark Wentzel.

The Eames Molded Plastic Rocker (1948), often known as the RAR (rocking armchair rod), was out of production for 30 years before being brought back with the blessings of the Eames Office. Originally manufactured in fiberglass-reinforced plastic, this classic rocker was updated in durable and environmentally friendly molded polypropylene.

The Eames Wire Chair, introduced in 1951 for the consumer who wanted quality design at a reasonable price. The Eameses molded the seat of their wire chair using cross-woven wires and positioned it on the bent-wire "Eiffel Tower" base. Due to cost restraints, strength requirements, and to further an organic shape, they made the rim of the chair a lighter-gauge wire and doubled it for strength and stability. This advance brought about their first American mechanical patent for design.

A few examples of Iconic Eames clocks, a coat hook and magazine rack...

The clock below is my absolute fave, however. Not only do I prefer the classic subdued mix of gold and wood, it can also be used as a weapon.


erin@designcrisis said...

The fat eames chair makes me giggle.


So many years ago, when my parents divorced, my Father came back to claim is only possession...that Eames lounge chair. Oh, she was mad!

..and at 2yrs old, I just shrugged and said : "It's O.K., he needs his chair"...

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