Co.Design

Behind the Scenes, as the Famed Eames Lounger Is Made [Video]

Vitra unveils the meticulous handiwork behind its reissue of an Eames icon.

Introduced more than 50 years ago, the Lounge Chair & Ottoman is today the world's most beloved Eames design -- a fixture in every corner office and psychiatrist's flat, from New York to Seattle. It's also probably the easiest to knock off.

So to boldface-italicize the value of the real thing, Vitra -- one of two companies officially licensed to produce the Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman -- has released a video showing the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into each piece of furniture.

Note the tight cropping; the camera lovingly zooming in on hands as they cut leather and pump screws into plywood; the graphic sound effects. It's downright porny.

Eames

The point, we supposed, is to underscore how much of the chair is made by real, live people -- the better for rationalizing its $5,000 price tag (though that's a conservative estimate; apparently in Europe, the chair can cost upward of $9,000, depending on the wood and leather chosen).

Personally, we're disappointed not to see more of the manufacturing process. What made the chair revolutionary in 1956 -- and what's still fascinating 55 years on -- was the construction of the plywood shells: Thin layers of wood veneer were glued together and shaped under intense heat and pressure.

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9 Comments

  • Michael Kulikowski

    John Peter, I agree 100%. It's very unfortunate that the Eames intentions of good design with economics in mind has been lost through the years elitism and design snobs. Still one of my favorite Eames pieces.

    btw kwilson, they were husband and wife not brothers haha

  • john peter

    It is a shame that Charles and Ray's designs are now priced out reach for most people. I'm sure their intent was good design for the masses not for just the privileged few, good design should be democratic it should be for everyone no matter what standing you have in society. It should be affordable and not elitist.

  • peter

    Not seeing anything in a video full of power tools that justifies the ridiculous asking price.

    There are some very good copies out there at a fraction of the cost.

  • kwilson

    The Eames brothers were very advance for their time. The process of construction that goes into crafting each of their pieces is wonderful.

    Imaginative furniture with breakthrough technology keeps the Eames designs highly desirable. Eames Molded Plywood Coffee Table is another wonderful molded plywood creation.