Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Charles and Ray Eames

Design: 1956
Production: 1956 to the present
Manufacturer: Herman Miller Furniture
Company, Zeeland, Michigan
Size: 82 x 83 x 84;
seat height 35 cm/42 x 65 x 53.5 cms
Material: bent plywood, rosewood veneer,
blackened and polished cast aluminium,
leather cushions, plastic, rubber

Like many of the Eameses’ furniture designs, the club chair “No. 670” was the result of Charles Eames’s cooperation with Eero Saarinen in 1940, when both participated in the New York MoMA’s “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition. Based on the arm chair exhibited there made of a single piece of three-dimensionally shaped plywood for the seat and back, Eames Office prototypes were created in 1946 using three separate bent plywood elements for shoulders, back, and seat; these were connected by hard rubber discs. Tubular steel and plywood structures were tried out as supports. Don Albinson, who had worked with Eames since 1946, was involved in these earlier experiments as well as on the final version shown here, which was created ten years later. Although it can be easily and completely dismantled using only a monkey wrench, the construction of the chair is more complex than any other chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Moreover, it is the most comfortable and most expensive piece of furniture the couple created. The plywood shells, bent two-dimensionally for the shoulders, back, seat, and ottoman were veneered in the early version with rosewood and later with walnut or rosewood. The leather upholstery, originally filled with goosefeathers and later with soft foam, is completely removable. One special feature of the construction is the connection of the seat to the back. While both back sections are held together by two cast aluminum supports and hard rubber discs, the armrests provide the only connection of the back with the shell and feature washers made of Neoprene. The chair can be rotated on the star-base, but its individual elements are firmly connected to each other. Its inviting soft padding and the generous, well-shaped dimensions offer, at least in conjunction with the ottoman, nearly optimal sitting comfort. The Eameses’ “Lounge Chair,” taking its cue from the club chairs of the last century, owes its striking appearance first to its impressive size, which gently embraces the user. Also worth mentioning are the high-grade materials; even the aluminum is enhanced by expensive finishing on the polished outer side and blackened side parts. At the same time, the division between the individual functions through the segmentation of the structure and the use of different materials gives the chair a technical appearance. This linking of a technically mature modern structure with luxurious sitting comfort soon turned the chair into a beloved (and expensive) status symbol. In 1957 it was awarded first prize at the Triennial in Milan. Far more than 100,000 of this model have been produced to date by Herman Miller, and after 1958 also by Vitra, and the chair is considered one of the great design classics. MSC


Charles and Ray Eames

Charles und Ray Eames Lounge Chair und Ottoman