The Eames La Chaise is an interesting looking chair that is surprisingly comfortable. It looks almost like a fried egg with the yoke missing set up on some chopsticks. If you have ever seen it, you are probably slowly nodding your head and thinking to yourself, “yeah” because its true and because it is just that cool to admire and actually sit in.
When Charles and Ray Eames set out to create interesting modern designs that we both fun and functional he and their collaborator, Eero Saarinin, succeeded in spades. In fact, the chair won an award for their design that was actually created for a competition at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The competition was to create “Organic Design in Home Furnishings.” The idea behind the competition was to create low cost furniture that would encourage production around the world and excite consumers to buy homes and furnishings.
The chair was created using fiberglass for the free form shells with an oak base and chrome legs. The shape conforms to the body in such a way that virtually any position a person may choose is a comfortable one. The dimensions of the chair allowed for one to recline comfortably, too. The chair is 59’ long from seat to end. 15.5” tall legs and 34.5” from floor to the top of the seatback and it is 35.5 inches wide.
The chairs organic form has been compared to surreal art such as Dali’s who used shapes that almost looked like they are melting. The size and shape of the chair was actually inspired by the sculpture called “Floating Figure”, which was created by Gaston Lachaise. So, now you know where it gets its name. Not only is it a chaise lounge or chair by design, but is named for Lachaise who inspired the chair. This choice of name in line with the playfulness that Charles and Ray Eames said they wanted to do with their designs, which as to create fun and functional furniture.
When it was designed for the contest the estimated cost for manufacture were low enough to suit the requirements of the contest, but proved prohibitively expensive for mass production until the 1990s when production began at Vitra in Germany.
Furniture collectors eagerly seek the Eames La Chaise lounge for its organic design, ergonomic design and comfort and its iconic history with a name like Eames. Even if one is not a furniture aficionado it is difficult not to know the name Eames. They had a strong role in American Modernism in furniture, architectural design, and they even have films to their credit.
When we think about the design era of the mid-20th century one usually envisions sleek shapes with a minimum of fuss. The shapes are sleek and aesthetically pleasing. All the while the designs are also comfortable using ergonomic design concepts and simple materials that last for years and are easy to care for, too.
As with anything of great quality and popularity there will be many imitators who will attempt to sell their furniture under the name of Vitra and Eames. A wise buyer will learn about the production techniques and materials used to assure they are getting the real thing and not an imitation.
Note that The designer name and his products was mentioned in this article to demonstrate the history of furniture design and it doesn't represent any of the items sold in this store.
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