Husband and wife Charles and Ray Eames are among the most influential twentieth-century designers. Their best-known furniture design is the Vitra Eames Lounge Chair.
History of the Vitra Eames Chair
The Vitra Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman, which launched in 1956 offered a modern twist on the classic English club armchair. It was a gift for Billy Wilder who was the director behind movies such as Some Like It Hot and Sunset Boulevard.
Charles Eames wanted the leather upholstery to look soft and well-used, inviting the user to sink back and relax in it. At the time he used a baseball reference to comment how it had: “the receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.”
The chair has consistently featured in popular culture since its introduction. In the hit US comedy Frasier it is a centrepiece in the title character’s apartment. Oddly the chair has also been associated with the former first secretary of state Peter Mandelson. He was pictured enjoying himself in one at his Notting Hill home in the late 1990s.
The chair is still referenced to this day with French designer Ora Ito coming up with a Nike trainer that paid respects to the chair’s curves in 2014.
Last year saw an exhibition at the Barbican in London dedicated to the work of the Eameses. The retrospective catalogued how they not only made an impact on the furniture industry but also to architecture and film.