The Eames Lounge Chair - The Past Through Tomorrow
Whither the next Eames Lounge Chair?
The London Design Festival recently concluded. Some nice exhibits and an interesting mix of exhibitors. Names and designs that have stood the test of time alongside up-and-coming designers. Nothing jumped out at me.
I was looking for something that I could identify as a future classic. Longevity in design is often elusive, as much as the ability to spot it. But by decidedly expressing the here-and-now, through smart application of form and function applied to the technology available, the future can belong to a design too. So it is with the furniture of American designers Charles and Ray Eames.
The Lounge Chair and Ottoman
The Eames' Lounge Chair and Ottoman was introduced in 1956. Just in time for the mod sub-culture of the late 50s and early 60s to pick it up. New materials and techniques were used in its construction of curved wooden veneers and leather cushions, but they were also trying to get "closer than anyone else to incorporating craft ideals into the mass production of furniture", as Charles Eames put it. The result is something that looks well-designed without being over-designed, but is also damned comfortable.
The original chairs used a Brazilian Rosewood veneer, but the tree is now protected. As such, there's a big demand for authentic originals. Lots of cheap copies abound also, but Vitra in Europe and the original company associated with the chair in the US, Herman Miller, still produce a creditable Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, which they can supply in new colours. You'd go for the original colours though, wouldn't you?