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  • Writer's pictureRitwic Singh

Charles & Ray Eames' Chair is the benchmark for all furniture, period!

The iconic symbol of comfort seating, the famous Eames lounge chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames traces its origins to the middle and dark ages. The base concept of the chair can be traced back to the Royal throne being used in multiple empires in Europe since early AD. The Royal throne included a comfortable, cushioned chair and an auxiliary ottoman stool. The Eames chair descended from this concept of ultimate luxury seating, once available only to kings and lords. As Hirai et al stated, Charles and Ray Eames designed the Eames Lounge Chair after being stimulated by the traditional English club chair of the 1850s. Eames kept the traditional English club chair's soft and comfortable seating function by developing molded plywood and leather with a humanized backrest curve and reducing the chair’s thickness. This change results in the Eames Lounge Chair offering a warm and receptive seating experience....Eames Lounge Chair examples of history-stimulated product designs illustrate how historical product design can serve as a catalyst for designing innovative products. The Eames Lounge Chair utilized black leather and fabric combined with plywood to replace the brown leather of its predecessor, the club chair.

The Eames chair’s history splits in two directions into ottomans and armchairs. The ottoman, a much coveted upholstered backless seat, received its title from its namesake empire, christened after its founder Osman I. The design was created by Turkish carpet weavers, who created such footrests using cotton and cushion. This was possibly derived from the ancient Egyptian technique of turning cloth and soft natural materials into low stools—a contraption meant to compensate for the sparsity of wood in the desert country. The ottoman arrived in Europe in the late 18th or early 19th century and got its name due to its role in Turkish daily life. It was quickly adopted by the English country clubs and paired with the high class armchair to create a comfortable and luxurious experience. The armchair traces its beginning to the chair as a symbol of luxury and dignity. It is still used as the emblem in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom to this day. Chairs first became common in the 16th century, people used to employ stools, benches and ottomans as seats for ordinary life. Early chairs are traced back to early Egyptian dynasties of 3100 BCE. Initial designs were made of leather and carved wood.

The Eames lounge chair is how through thousands of iterations, design can be brought to its ultimate perfect form. The chair included molded wood panels with smooth vinyl finishing which are melded into soft dark leather and cushion. The ottoman, inspired from the English club chair, adds the most unique and striking element to the chair, a sense of calm and comfort looms over those who utilize it. The Eames pair understood the millions of small changes made to chairs and meshed them with their own ideas to create an iconic modern piece of design.

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