The making of an Eames lounge chair

Much interpreted and replicated the Eames lounge chair and Eiffel chair offers a trip into a world of luxury but at a price that is intended to be relatively affordable. They were designed by Charles and Ray Eames as a work for the Herman Miller furniture company. Along with the chair a foot rest ottoman was also included. Examples of the Eames Eiffel Chair and Eames Chair lounge version can be viewed and purchased at They are so considered a design classic that a set resides on show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. How did these classics of design, form and function come into being?

Charles and Ray wanted to make a chair. However they didn’t want it to be just any old chair. This was to be a comfortable seat that encashed you as snuggly as a “first baseman’s mitt”. This is a baseball reference and the best way I can describe it is we would say it is as a “wicket keepers gloves”.  This is quite relevant as the first place that Ray and Charles looked for inspiration was the English club chair. What they want to do was to recreate that feel of slumping into a chair at the club to read the Times, check the cricket score or argue about the gold standard and sip on a nice single malt. The last thing they wanted was something that would be dismissed as all design and no substance. They wanted a chair for a man and they wanted it to be affordable.

The Eames looked at ways that the chair could be produced in large numbers but not lose quality. The use of modern techniques such as bending plywood through heat and pressure were the used and they also moved away from nails and staples using glue instead. The showed some great innovation be using the glue to mount lumber shock absorbers. You could land into the chair quite heavily after a long day in the office and not feel a thing. The cushions were themselves made of galvanised rubber and packing that was stuck with more glue. The Eames liked there glue. As a quirk it also featured a constant recline.

It was launched onto the North American market in nineteen fifty six and it was highlighted as the perfect hair for the working man’s den. A place to escape from the pressures of that office job at Dewy, Cheatum and Howe so you could sit with your copy of Gentleman’s Quarterly and your pipe. Make sure you lock the door though or else the kids well come in.