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Eames Aluminum Chair Group

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The Eames Aluminum Group Independent Overall Rating: 9 of 10      [ how this works ]
9 out of 10 Stars


These are very cool, very stylish chairs and you can fit them almost anywhere. Highly recommended.

 


PRODUCT RATINGS


FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The series of Eames Aluminum Group Chairs is a cool, retro-looking collection of office and home living chairs. They're made of aluminum and leather (or fabric), with the leather stretched between two aluminum “ribs” that range up and down the seat and seat back. This creates a comfort pocket in the seat and the back, making the chairs much more comfortable than they appear at first sight. The mixture of the hard polished aluminum and shiny leather makes a very elegant statement, but at the same time the chairs retain the capacity for being informal. These chairs are a favorite of hip young offices, cash-rich start ups, that kind of thing. They were designed in three different permutations, Executive, Management, and Lounge, and each of them speaks to a different need.

The Lounge Chair is the one piece of the collection that clearly belongs in the home. The chair is reclined and comes with a simple ottoman to put your feet up. It's comfortable, and would be a good choice for watching TV or reading, but you might not want to nap in it (it's not that comfortable). It also just looks great; almost any decor would be improved or at least not made worse by its presence. It has a high back, unlike the Management version, and supports your head, neck, and shoulders better than that model.

The Executive Chair is meant for posh offices. It has a high back, and the polished aluminum and black leather can make a powerful impression. It fits in well with most types of desks and most office design schemes as well; it's not the kind of chair you have to build your whole office around. There is extra curvature in the back of this chair (because there is extra space) and that makes you a bit more comfortable while you're going through long days at work. Sitting in this chair was much like sitting in any other modern work chair, just with fewer adjustments and more style.

The Management Chair is the do-it-all utility infielder of the series. It goes great in offices, boardrooms, conference rooms, living rooms, covered patios, and screened porches, even in kitchens and dining rooms. It's got a short back so it looks more like a side chair, and it has all the functionality of the other two versions without the highly emphasized back and recline. This is just a simple, all-around chair; still beautiful, and very capable of handling a wide variety of tasks.

They were designed by Charles and Ray Eames, two of the most famous designers in the 20th century. The chairs came hard on the heels of their breakthroughs in molded plywood, molded plastic, and the Eames Lounge Chair, and symbolized something of a departure for Charles and Ray. Previously they had made furniture that was mostly concerned with the home, bringing high style and design to the affluent middle class that was growing in America. But these chairs were clearly meant for the office (or at least the Executive and the Management models were) and that was a bit of a paradigm shift.

DESIGNER: 10 of 10
10 of 10 Stars
Charles and Ray Eames are the greatest pair of industrial designers in American history. They are unparalleled in output, critical adoration, public enthusiasm, and continued relevance. They were innovators, they were stylistic savants, and they churned out beautiful work almost every year without breaking a sweat. They made the Eames Lounge Chair, the Eames Desk and Storage Units, the Soft Pad Chairs, the Eames Sofa, the LCW, and of course the Aluminum Group Chairs. And that only scratches the surface of all the furniture they made, much less the surface of all the other interests they cultivated with creative zeal. They were filmmakers, artists, architects, photographers, scientists, toy makers, and inventors. They did everything with equal portions of hard work and creative thinking, imbuing almost everything with a unique and somehow sophisticated sense of play and fun.

The Aluminum Group Chairs are no exception. They made each part of the series to reflect a different part of office and home life, and made each with cutting edge material and technical processes. They helped to invent the idea of the chair with no shell, the chair with comfort pockets and stretched fabrics rather than wood and metal backing covered in stuffing and pads. Their legacy lives on in the countless chairs, desks, and furniture pieces that still sell in droves today while at the same time occupying the permanent collections of every major american art and design museum.

STYLE: 9 of 10
9 of 10 Stars
These chairs have a retro feel, but they aren't at all dated. They still look fresh, as if they could have been made yesterday. They go very well in hipper, younger environs, even though they were designed and built many decades ago. The high backs of the Executive and Lounge models both serve a different purpose, while at the same time looking very similar. This is the genius and subtlety of Eames design. The Management chair is a go-anywhere and do-anything type of chair. This is the practicality of Eames design.

These chairs still look great, and the sales numbers prove it. They're just as lovely and elegant as they were when they were made, and you could do much worse in an office, living room, or all purpose chair.

INNOVATION: 8 of 10
8 of 10 Stars
The comfort pockets are the biggest innovation. Charles and Ray, who had done so much with the idea of the wooden shell as chair, abandoned it and went a different direction here. They were always quite bold. The use of aluminum was also ahead of its time. The original models were meant to be used outdoors and indoors, and were made with a kind of mesh; today those prototypes have been brought back to life by Herman Miller, and you can sit in them and use them that way as well. Not bad for a chair made half a century ago.
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