The Design of the Eames Molded Plastic Chairs

The Eames Molded Plastic Chairs' Design

The Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are indisputable icons of modern design. And not just industrial design, either; these are legitimate art objects. Charles and Ray Eames are two of the greatest designers in the history of the medium, and two of the most creative minds in the last century. They were toymakers, architects, builders, teachers, filmmakers, exhibition directors, and internationally known designers and artists. The furniture they created has remained popular and critically adored, from the moment it was debuted until today. And it's not difficult to see why. The furniture they made is imbued with a truly singular spirit. It combines functionality and form in new and beautiful ways, and marries technology and industry to the familiarity and comfort of Americana. Their furniture is playful but serious, sculptural but always with a mind to utility. Their furniture embraces paradox, which is to say that it embraces the mind of the creator in a total and penetrating way. The Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are emblematic of this phenomenon.

The first thing you notice about the chairs is their odd shape and their bright, vibrant color. These are sculptural elements clearly meant to make the chair pop and spark in a visual field. It gives the chair a personality and a feeling, and it helps the viewer and the user draw conclusions and make statements about interior decor and design. The shape of the chairs, while odd, are very comfortable, and designed to be that way. The curves of the shells cradle the body in ergonomic and supportive ways, and the armrests of the armchair shell are extremely convenient and comfortable. This is functionality. The shells are made out of hard plastic, which at the time was a new and exciting (and cheap and industrial) material. The bases of the chair were creations in wire and steel, and the entire ensemble was produced entirely without old-school materials like wood, leather, and cloth.


Molded Plastic Chairs

These technological, very modern materials and looks all contributed to the post-war look of the chair. It was different, even alien, to living rooms that had always been upholstered, schools that had always used wooden chairs. At the same time, these materials were softened and made more attractive by the bright colorization and the comfort offered by the chairs. The shapes and the colors were playful, but the comfort and the utility was serious. All of the chairs could be stacked or ganged and stored with ease, and deployed even easier into group spaces. These were chairs that expressed not only the paradoxical minds of their creators, but the paradoxical era they were born into, when things began to change in the American middle class.

The Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are icons, therefore, not only because they are beautiful, and not only because they are well constructed, and not only because they are comfortable. They are iconic because they help us to define and measure they time in which they debuted, and the times through which they have endured and survived. The chairs were born out of curiosity, out of a new American prosperity, and into a new American middle class. The creators of the chair were improving and adjusting an earlier design, also popular, that had been done in wood (the LCW). The nature of the update was cosmetic, functional, and nearly total. The new age of technology and creative living (fostered by more free time and a new affluence in the American middle class) had called for the creation of chairs like this, and Charles and Ray Eames were always ahead of the curve.

They created a system of chairs that could fit a multitude of task in the home, office, school, or public place. They created a system that buyers could make their own through customization and myriad choices about color, base style, and shell. They anticipated the design on demand aesthetic that Smart Furniture has built our business on. These chairs are remarkable in many ways, but none quite so impressive as their ability to be both of their time and out of time. These are chairs that have remained very popular to this very day, and it's not just because of their historical value; even now, more than half a century after their debut, they look new. They look different. They look like the chairs we’ll be sitting one five years from now. The Eames Molded Plastic Chairs, and their creators, weren't just ahead of the curve. They were permanently ahead of the curve, without seeming futuristic or gimmicky. And that’s great design.

Eiffel Tower Side Chair

The chairs were designed in several different ways, each design with different strengths and weaknesses, and different optimal uses in the home, office, and public sphere. This part of the article will look at all the component parts of the Eames Molded Plastic Chair, and show how each unique form can fit into your personal design schemes in combination with the others

Simple Shell or Armchair?
Once you've chosen the type of base you want for your Eames Molded Plastic Chair, you get to make another and equally important decision. Which of two types of seat do you want?

The Eames created two possible seats for the molded plastic series. One was the armchair version and the other was simple and armless. Both of them were single shells, but they were very different and gave the chairs they made very different looks, appeals, and uses.

The armchair version is larger and more commanding. It's also a bit more comfortable, as it comes with armrests. The looks of the chair is somewhat expansive; it's a single shell that stretches to accommodate your back, legs, and arms. It envelops the user in comfort and style, and with the armrests it gives you options other than hands-in-your-lap and hands-by-your-side. The chair is very comfortable as well as very beautiful, and it remains just as stackable or gang-able as the more simple version of the seat.

This chair is a bit more refined, a bit more stylish, that the simple version. And that makes it a better fit for the home and office, more personal and highly-designed areas. It also looks great in combination with the rocker base or the wire base especially. The grandeur of the wire and the relaxed nature of the rocker base both work very well with a more lounge focused-seat, like the armchair version. Whether you need a chair for your library your home office or your actual office, the Eames Molded Plastic Armchair is what you’re looking for in bold and beautiful design.

Eiffel Tower Armchair

The more simple version of the seat, called the simple shell, is egg-shaped. There are no armrests and it's much less expansive than the armchair version. This is the stylish type of stacking chair you’ve seen in auditoriums and public spaces since it debuted back in the 40s and 50s. The simple shell looks great, but it's just what its name implies; simple. It's meant for group seating, group solutions, or as a simple side chair in homes and offices. It’s not imposing (except in terms of historical value) but it's impressive and lovely, and that again is a big part of the Charles and Ray Eames aesthetic.

In the end, you can mix and match tops and bottoms when it comes to the Eames Molded Plastic Chairs, and you can get a highly personal and even meaningful look that plays into your needs or design schemes.

The Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are icons of modern design. Their elegant forms and graceful curving surfaces are instantly recognizable to connoisseurs and the average customer both, as they’ve been staples of auditoriums, schools, offices and homes for more than half a century. The chairs are as popular today as they ever were, with collectors and new buyers alike falling in love with their classic, playful forms. They fit in every room of the house, and in every part of the office. They still look great in their most popular locations; schools and auditoriums and large, group-seating rooms. The chairs are stack-able, comfortable, and lightweight, so they're perfect for those kinds of set-ups. Whether you need an individual chair or you're in the market for multi-purpose and multiple pieces, the Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are just right for you. They’ve got the classic stylization, the playful vibrant color, and the comfort and support every great chair needs. They also have an impressive history; these chairs were made by Charles and Ray Eames, two of the most famous and respected designers in industrial design history.

A large part of the value of these chairs is tied up in the two people who created them. They were true renaissance artists, who did great work in design, film, and architecture. They also made toys, took and archived unbelievable amounts of unbelievably great photography, and produced domestic and international exhibitions of design and mathematics and film. They made a definite and definitely worthy mark on the international and American art scene, and their lasting fame and name recognition among lay people sets them apart from practically every other industrial designer (or design team) that ever worked. The beauty and comfort of the Eames Molded Plastic Chairs is proof enough of their genius.

Charles and Ray Eames burst onto the international design scene in the late 1940s, when they first debuted their groundbreaking LCW model. Made of molded plywood, the chair was curvaceous, colorful and bold. TIME Magazine called it the "Design of the Century." Quickly and emphatically, Charles and Ray Eames had made their mark on the design world. Many designers, having secured such incredible and early success, would be content to rest on their laurels, or else produce furniture that was the same as their original signature piece. But Charles and Ray Eames believed in using new materials, doing more with less, and pushing the boundaries of traditional design, traditional furniture, and the traditional American home. For these reasons and more, they began to work on what would become known as the Eames Molded Plastic Chairs.