The Eames Plywood Chair Remains Iconic

Of all the chairs in the world, most of them are just that; chairs. They serve a purpose, they have a very specific function, and that is it. There are some chairs, however, that are much than that. They can be considered a luxury item, or a symbol of authority, or a status symbol. The Eames molded plywood lounge chair is among that latter group, and has been there for over fifty years. The chairs come from legendary designers Charles and Ray Eames. Since their lounge chair was introduced in the mid-1950s, it has been a status symbol of the elite, whether that elite is wealthy industrialist, a college professor, or an art collector. These chairs are so revered among the elite, in fact, that there is a permanent display at the New York Museum of Modern Art dedicated to them.


History of the Eames plywood lounge chair

The now famous Eames plywood lounge chair was introduced to America in 1956 on a home show carried on NBC. After making its appearance, the Herman Miller furniture company began to advertise this chair pretty aggressively in both print and broadcast media. The original ads showed the chairs in a variety of settings, including on a bucolic front porch, in a Victorian style parlor, and even in the middle of a field by itself. Due to the success of the chair, there were lots of imitations and knock offs. To this day there are companies all over the world that make direct copies of this chair, but there are two companies, Herman Miller and Vitra, that produce the real thing.

The Eames Plywood Chair Remains Iconic

Design of the Eames plywood chair

The popularity of the Eames plywood chair is base on its design and comfortability. Believe it or not, the combination of design and comfort is not necessarily a given in the world of design. When the Eames family was envisioning this chair, they wanted something that would be warm and inviting. They accomplished this by making the chair from three curved plywood shells that are glued together. The plywood is covered with rosewood veneer. In the earliest releases of the chair, the zipper on the cushion was brown, but the newer zippers are always black. The seat cushions are made in the same shape as the plywood shell, and the headrest is proportional to the chair back.


Market for the Eames molded plywood chair

The market for the Eames molded plywood chair remains strong long after its release. It is still revered for its style and still scene as a symbol of modernity. The same classic design has been in continuous production since its original release. In the United States market, you can expect to pay more than four thousand dollars for the chair with an Ottoman. The selection of leather and veneer will influence the price. For example, leather by Edelman makes the chair a lot more expensive. Vitra is the retailer in Europe, where the chair retails for about double the price, around nine thousand dollars. There is also a strong market among collectors, who are usually willing to pay far greater prices to get unique features.

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