When the set was introduced in 1956, there was nothing like it, and there is still nothing to equal it. The Eameses’ modern take on a nineteenth century club chair has not only endured for more than 50 years, it has become one of the most significant furniture designs of the twentieth century—instantly recognizable and enduringly fresh.
When they were conceptualising the chair, Charles explained that the designers wanted it to have the “warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt.” As Charles and Ray’s home provided the backdrop for the couple’s gracious hosting of a famously eclectic group of friends and associates, providing “a special refuge from the strains of modern living,” so too the lounge chair and ottoman were conceived to provide welcoming comfort to the body.
The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman debuted on national television in 1956. Charles and Ray Eames appeared on the NBC television network Home show hosted by Arlene Francis. Stardom ensued for both design and designers. Yet, as popular as the lounge chair and ottoman have become, they remain grounded in the handcrafted details that continue to distinguish this classic, authentic design.
Although the word “icon” is overused, it's exactly the right word in describing the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman.
Part of the permanent collections at New York’s MoMA and the Art Institute of Chicago, the chair and ottoman have been the subject of documentary films and books; they were the sole subject of a museum show at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York. They are featured prominently in television series and stylish movie interiors. Although the word “icon” is overused, it's exactly the right word in describing the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman.
Like all classics, the chair and ottoman get better with age, in part because of how they are made. From the innovative hardware that fastens the cushions to the shell without marring the appearance of the wood to the fact that each piece continues to be assembled by hand, the combination of craft and manufacturing consistency results in pieces that are genuinely authentic.