‘Why don’t we make an updated version of the old English club chair?’ An innocent question initiated the development of an iconic armchair that combines ultimate comfort with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship: the Eames Lounge Chair, one of the most popular furniture designs of the 20th century.
For Charles and Ray Eames, the main goal was to satisfy the desire for a generously proportioned chair that combined utmost comfort with the finest materials and craftsmanship. Furthermore, Charles and Ray Eames had a clear vision of how the seat should feel: warm and soft, like a ‘well-used baseball glove’.
So, this spectacular armchair designed in 1956 managed to set new standards: it’s not only lighter, more stylish and more modern than the traditional ponderous club chair, but it’s also more comfortable. Thanks to these important qualities, the Lounge Chair has attained the status of a great classic of midcentury furniture.
Vitra and Eames started to collaborate in the 1950s. Since then, Vitra has produced the Eames Lounge Chair using the same manufacturing methods and premium-quality materials. Nowadays, just as it did 67 years ago, production of this elegant armchair involves 47 different steps, many of which must be accomplished manually. The accurate execution assures the enduring quality that makes the Vitra Eames Lounge Chair last for generations.
Ever since it was first launched, the Lounge Chair has been manufactured in various configurations, which are now complemented by a white edition and a black edition, with corresponding details. Also, the classic version offers a wide choice of options: different types of wood for the shells, a selection of fabrics, leather grades and colours, and several surface finishes for the base.
Over the past 60 years, average human height has increased worldwide by nearly 10 cm. In close coordination with the Eames Office, Vitra developed the new larger version so that taller people, too, can enjoy the same exceptional comfort that Charles and Ray Eames intended with their original 1956 design.
Of course, there is almost no other upholstery material that can compete with high-quality leather, known for its longevity, warmth and comfort. In fact, Vitra is using different types of leather according to the product and area of application. Also, leather is a sustainable material and develops a natural patina over the years, lending a unique appearance to each piece of furniture. Furthermore, the tanning agent used for leather is extracted from the leaves of Mediterranean olive trees.
Charles and Ray Eames spent several years trying to find an innovative technique for producing three-dimensionally moulded plywood seat shells that conformed to the human body’s contours. Nowadays, complex industrial techniques are used to produce sheets of wood veneer, which are further processed manually. In most cases, wood from a single tree is utilised for a piece of furniture to ensure the uniform appearance of all surfaces. With only two exceptions, Vitra exclusively purchases veneers with a certificate of sustainability from European producers.
The Eames Lounge Chair is characterized by its durability, quality, timeless elegance and comfort. It’s like a treasure that you can pass on from generation to generation. The interplay of form, upholstery, colour and materials results in an armchair that is today a recognised icon of design history. Also, the Lounge Chair is ideally complemented by the matching Ottoman.
In 1958, one of the first Lounge Chairs in Scandinavia – if not the very first – arrived at Birgitte von Halling-Koch’s childhood home in Copenhagen, when she was 15 years old. Over the decades, the black leather of the chair has developed fine creases and veins, and the palisander shells have taken on a lighter shade – changes that are characteristic of natural materials and lend furnishings a patina that reveals their unique history. “It’s hard to resist falling asleep in it – after 60 years it is still so incredibly comfortable. I can not count how many times my parents, my children, my grandchildren and I have nodded off into the land of dreams in that chair. It is a dear treasure of ours, full of so many memories. The quality over the years has been amazing”, said Birgitte von Halling-Koch, actress.
Charles and Ray Eames are counted among the most important figures of twentieth-century design. Their work spans the fields of furniture design, filmmaking, photography and exhibition design. Also, furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames has been a cornerstone of the Vitra Design Museum collection since its inception.
Vitra is the sole authorised manufacturer of Eames products for Europe and the Middle East. When you own an Eames product made by Vitra, you know it is an original.
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