If you're a design buff, you're already well-acquainted with the work of Charles and Ray Eames, the husband-and-wife duo behind some of 20th century's most defining architecture and industrial design moments.
The couple, who were colleagues at the Cranbrook Academy of Art before they married, worked together to create notable works in architecture, like their own California home, the Eames house. That said, arguably their most lasting contributions were to the field of mid-century modern seating design.
Eames chairs — from the cozy lounger to the sleek molded armchair —are still widely sought after today, and are continually referenced by contemporary designers.
Eames Fiberglass Armchair
Ray and Charles Eames released their molded fiberglass armchair in 1950, after creating it for the International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design, sponsored by the MoMA. The affordable fiberglass design was an answer to the limited financial and material resources available after WWII.
In its earliest form, this chair was molded plastic on an aluminum base, upholstered with fabric cushions. Eventually, the style expanded to offer a variety of finishes, bases, and upholstery options. They became hugely popular, appearing everywhere from sports stadiums to college lounges.
Eames Lounger & Ottoman
The Eames Lounge chair and the Eames Ottoman were released by the company in 1956, and are still produced and sold today. Unlike the sleek, spare lines of other Eames designs, this chair was intended to be, first and foremost, inviting.
In her book Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century, the design historian Pat Kirkham notes that Charles once explained that the lounge chair should have,"the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt." The chairs were made of molded plywood, heated, then bent and shaped, and upholstered in leather.
Eames Aluminum Group Task Chair
The Eames Aluminum Group was a collection of office furniture designed by Charles and Ray, and released in 1958. The most iconic item from the collection is the Task Chair, a classic office desk chair originally created with a mesh suspension back for outdoor use and adapted for the office. Today, the most recognizable version of the chair features padded leather upholstery on an aluminum frame.
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