By Simon Furzey
Everyone needs a relaxing Sunday chair to snuggle up into. The Eames Lounge chair is conceivably the most famous Sunday chair in history. The designer chair has appeared in myriad films, TV shows and adverts since its inception in 1956 including “Iron Man”, “Fraiser”, “House” and in the first season of “Friends”. This designer chair was not like Eameses’ earlier chairs the LCW (lounge chair wood) and DCW (dining chair wood) which were produced for the mass market, but rather Charles and Ray Eames designed the Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman for the higher end consumer with top grain leather and layers of steam bent rosewood.
For more than half a century this piece of designer furniture has graced some of the most stylish offices, contemporary houses and lavish apartments and even has its own fan website. Produced originally by the Herman Miller company (or Vitra in Europe) which still own the copyright to the original chair, there are now hundreds of companies producing reproductions of the original at a fraction of the price.
However a chair as gorgeous as this would not have been considered as the unparalleled designer chairs ever created if it were not luxuriously comfortable. In fact when it was first designed Ray Eames remarked that the chair looked “comfortable and un-designy”, while Charles Eames wanted the chair to resemble a “Used Baseball Mitt”.
The Lounge chair No. 670 and Ottoman 671 was Eames’ most constructionally complex chair but much of the technology used was based on there previous designs of the Eames LCW, LCM, DC and DCM. The chair is composed of three curved plywood shells which are covered in soft Italian semi-aniline leather (removable) cushions. Originally the plywood shells of this iconic chair were produced in Brazilian rosewood ply veneer, since this wood has a worldwide embargo it is now more common to find Walnut or Palisander plywood veneer, although other options are available. The low seat which is permanently fixed in recline is perfect for relaxing on a Sunday afternoon reading a book or watching your favourite programme on TV. The 5 star aluminium cast base of the chair allow the lounge chair to swivel for maximum comfort.
Whether you agree with me that this is the greatest piece of designer furniture produced during the 20th Century it is certainly once of the most comfortable and is likely to be regarded as an iconic chair for years to come.