This is another of my favourite Modern Classic piece by Charles & Ray Eames. Designed in 1945 and produced by both Herman Miller (in America) and Vitra (in Europe)in 1946, the first impression that I had with this chair was “standard” and “cute”. The shape of the chair reminds me of cartoony drawned chairs that I read when I was a kid. The cutsey part comes from the short hind legs of the chair, but that makes it and unusually attractive design for me. When I first read about the chair, it was acclaimed to have the ability to the contours of human shape. Times Magazine went on to hail it as the greatest design of the 20th Century. It was not until I had a sit in the Lounge Chair Wood (LCW in short) from Vitra that I realised the truth in the shape of the chair to support the contour of the human body. Having sat in it for a short period of time, there was absolutely no pain and it could be said that it is even more comfortable than some padded chairs! The deep and contoured seat let’s the human body lounge in comfort and I believe, over a long period of time. The backrest of the LCW was nicely angled to support the back and relieves much of the fatigue of an upright dining chair.
Here is a short history of the LCW (courtesy of Wikipedia). Like the La Chaise, the LCW begins life in its early stages of design as an entry into the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Furniture Competition in 1940. During the competition period, Charles Eames jointly entered the competition with another famous name in today’s modern classic history – Architect, Eero Saarinen. Due to the difficulty in producing the then single shell chair, Eero Saarinen left the project while Charles continued the development with his wife, Ray Kaiser Eames. A whole family of Plywood chairs, tables and screens were created. The family of plywood chairs include a taller Dining Chair Wood (DCW) complete with a narrower seat for dining purposes, a variant of Lounge and Dining Chairs with metal legs know as the Lounge Chair Metal and Dining Chair Metal (LCM and DCM). Today, the chairs are produced in a multitude of colours and seat paddings by both Herman Miller and Vitra.
This plywood chair of course, fits in my colour palette as well (what doesn’t? :)). But, like the La Chaise, I had a hard time justifying its beauty to my wife. As I had mentioned earlier, this isn’t really a typical beauty. Its form is unsually simple without much bangs. Well, maybe its the simplicity that adds an air of honesty to this piece of furniture that caught my eye. Sometimes, simple things in life just makes it more wonderful, isn’t it?