• 03.28.11

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

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

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

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.


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.

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.