When you think of elegance and class in office furniture, you think of the Eames Soft Pad Chairs. The fine leather upholstery and the polished, beautiful aluminum that makes up the arms and base combine to form some of the most stylish and visually impressive furniture ever made. The look of the chairs is soft and inviting, but at the same time prestigious, serious, and fine. You won't find office chairs anywhere with the same level of high-art stylization, unless you look to the original models, the Aluminum Group Chairs. But even then, you won't see the world class comfort and upholstery that makes the Eames Soft Pad Chairs even more special and particular.
These chairs are the evolutionary versions of those Aluminum Group models. But they've been changed in significant and obvious ways. The most appealing change is the addition of thick, leather-upholstered padding that covers the seat and seat back of the chair, making them perfect for any home and every kind of office work. Perfect because not only are the seats beautiful and well made, they're exquisitely comfortable and can be sat in for very long periods of time without soreness, or need to get up and down to stretch and get circulation. Chairs like that help you to focus on your work, and chairs like that are the future of the modern office; computers and handheld devices have made working more sedentary than it's ever been. Even though the Eames Soft Pad Chairs were debuted in 1969, Charles and Ray Eames, always famous for their far-reaching ideas and long-lasting design, were looking ahead when they added the exceptionally comfortable pads to their Eames Soft Pad Chair series.
So the chairs are extremely valuable and desirable for their comfort, their design, and their exquisite stylization. When you buy one of them, you can be assured that it will be right at home in any corporate office, boardroom, or home office. They're flexible, they're beautiful, and they're great for working. But for many people, many collectors and serious design enthusiasts, those aren't the primary reason the Eames Soft Pad Chairs are so in demand and so amazing. For them, the primary reason has something to do with that name; Eames. Charles and Ray Eames, their design office and their dozens and dozens of amazing furniture designs, have had a profound impact on the world of art, sculpture, interior and industrial design, filmmaking, and architecture. They were renaissance creators, and two of the most famous designers, and certainly industrial designers, who ever lived. All of their furniture is rightly revered, as they are creations from master artisans. Just the name Eames is, in and of itself, a valuable commodity for a piece of furniture.
The Eames Soft Pad Chairs are some of the most recent designs from the office of Charles and Ray Eames. Their career really took off in the late forties, but they proved in 1969 that they were still on top of their game with a series of new chairs based on their earlier Aluminum Group series. The Eames Soft Pad Chairs retained the structural model of the earlier group but they added comfort and luxury in heaping helpings of well designed leather upholstery and cushioning. Each chair in the series boasts it's own unique look and purpose, and they all boast the same levels of craftsmanship and historical value. The province of offices, living rooms, homes and museums, these are timeless chairs that have been in continuous demand for four decades.
Charles and Ray met at Cranbrook Academy in Michigan. At the time, Charles was a teacher at the program, and Ray was a student. However, it soon became clear that the two were working on a different level from their peers, and they were soon married. After that, it was a just a hop skip and a jump to California, were they began their new lives as designers and partners. Charles worked at MGM, helping to design and build sets on the movie studio lot. Ray, for her part, did work as an illustrator, and drew covers for magazines. During their off time, using castoff materials from Charles' job at MGM and oftentimes stolen electricity from power lines near their apartment, they experimented on a new piece of furniture, the LCW. They wanted to build a chair of plywood, and they wanted to build it from molded plywood; plywood they had been able to manipulate in three dimensions. The called the machine they built for the process the Kazam! machine, and they often had to go door to door to apologize for blowing out the power for their entire building during their sessions. The amount of energy and heat that Kazam needed was staggering.
Soon, after several years, they had a finished product. The called it the LCW, and soon, they developed a relationship with Herman Miller to build and distribute the product. The chair was legendary, the "Design of the Century" according to TIME Magazine, and it wrote their name in the ledger of design history in big capital letters. They had arrived. Over the next several decades they would produce an astounding amount of incredible artwork. They made films, they built homes for themselves and others. They made toys and they collected and shot thousands of photographs for their archives (which are now under the purview of the Library of Congress). They were always most famous, however, and most appreciated and lauded, for their furniture, which was incredible. They made the LCW, the Aluminum Group Chairs, La Chairs, the Eames Sofa, the Molded Plastic Chairs; and, of course, the Eames Soft Pad Chairs, some of the latest and most beautiful creations they produced in their long careers.
The Eames Soft Pad Chairs are, in some ways, the crowing achievements of Charles and Ray in terms of furniture. They never made anything that was so stylish, so well made, and so perfect for the modern office. There other office furniture, while excellent, often was playful and colorful or composed of unfamiliar materials. all of those things are positive attributes, but the traditional office isn't always ready, from an interior design standpoint, to deal with them. This is never a problem with the Eames Soft Pad Chairs. They fit in perfectly with any office scheme, and their subtle, sophisticated combination of upholstered leather and polished aluminum are like nothing else on the office furniture design scene. Like nothing else in the sense that they're leagues ahead of anything else.
But there's more to the Eames Soft Pad Chair than pedigree, materials, and fantastic cushioning (as if that isn't enough!). There is also a lot of innovative science in the chair. The original aluminum group chairs were the first to debut a new kind of chair suspension. Up until then, most chairs had a solid back that was either upholstered or not. But the new chairs were different. Instead of having a solid back, they created two "ribs" of aluminum supports that ranged along the length of the chair, the seat and the seat back. They then stretched the leather of the chair (or the fabric) across the ribs to create comfort pockets and astoundingly comfortable suspension in the material. They ribs and the leather are precisely measured and tested to give you the biggest and best comfort pocket you can get, and that makes the Eames Soft Pad Chairs even more irresistible than they already are. Great design and great innovative science; that's the design of Charles and Ray Eames, and that's the Eames Soft Pad Chair.
To make the Eames Soft Pad Chair even better for the office and even the home, Charles and Ray created four different types of chair, all with their own specific purposes and ideal uses.