Herman Miller Eames Plywood Lounge Chair with Metal Legs, Upholstered
designed by Charles and Ray Eames
At A Glance: At the risk of outrageous hyperbole, this is probably the greatest chair ever made. Okay, okay, stop rolling your eyes and come back. Here's the checklist:
1. Greatest pair of furniture designers in American history, Charles and Ray Eames, built it.
2. Molded plywood was invented for this particular product.
3. Absolutely gorgeous, yet playful and not at all intimidating.
4. In 1999, Time Magazine rated it the best design of the century
What's To Like: You heard the part about greatest chair ever designed, right?
What's Not to Like: Some folks prefer the wood leg version. There's not much to dislike here.
The Bottom Line: Probably the best chair in the history of American design, a real piece of art history, and you can let your kids play on it. Not bad.
Independent Rating: Excellent
Read Smart Furniture's Review of the Plywood Lounge Chair ›
Shop the Molded Plywood Chair Collection ›
This is a variation inspired by users, and by the many years the original chair stayed on the market in its original state and form. Charles and Ray were never adverse to playing with the forms they had created, no matter how special or unique (or profitable) they were for themselves or for Herman Miller. They believed in constant, energetic, creativity and improvement. Adding metal legs to the chair satisfied the needs of a growing market in a number of ways.
For one, it gave contrast to the chair, contrast it had been lacking before. While the original is of course gorgeous, many more modern users appreciate the intermingling of different materials. They also appreciate a cheaper chair, and using metal legs instead of molded plywood legs achieves that end as well. The original Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair, Upholstered starts at $1,499, but its metal legged counterpart is only $1,199, as a point of comparison.
The changes to the chair offer a different aesthetic appeal (not necessarily a superior one), and a lower cost for folks who might want to buy in larger bulk. The Charles and Ray Eames were nothing if not forward thinking and customer-centered.
The Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair is simply one of the greatest industrial designs in history. That sounds like hyperbole, but it's not. This is the chair that TIME Magazine rated the number one design of the twentieth century. This is the chair that turned Herman Miller from a very well-respected American furniture company into an international powerhouse.
This is the design that put Charles and Ray Eames on the map, and became the first entry on their unbelievably accomplished resume. This is the chair that has stood the test of time in schools, homes and office all around the country, that has delighted children and adults alike. A design that has inspired films, books and hundreds of magazine articles. A design that has stood in museums for more than 60 years, and that set the agenda for all the lounge chairs that came after it. A chair that has been constantly produced and constantly bought by an adoring public since it was introduced in 1946 by Herman Miller. This a chair, in short, that is nothing less than extraordinary in the world of design and interior furnishings. It has lasted, it has flourished, and it is available at Smart Furniture.
And it's available in more than one size and shape. The original Eames Plywood Lounge Chair, noted in their catalogue as the LCW, is still in production and still as popular and available as ever. But as the modern world has changed, there have been new additions to the LCW family. For instance, you can now buy a chair with metal legs. This has the effect of slimming the chair, and making it fit in a little better with a contemporary or very modern room or home. It also gives the chair a bit of contrast in material, which the original doesn't have, being made completely of molded plywood. The original Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair is close to the ground. In fact, many people make the mistake of thinking the traditional LCW notation refers to "low chair" and not "lounge chair." Many people feel a bit awkward trying to sit in the chair when it's lower in proportion to some of their other furniture, like a table or a lamp, and to correct for that possible problem there are now metal leg versions of the chair that get you a bit higher off the ground.
Going even further toward making the Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair variable and flexible, there are versions with slightly different angles of recline and slightly varied curves and contours. Every version of the chair is meant to accept and cradle the human form, keeping them comfortable even atop a hard surface like plywood. Overall, Herman Miller and Charles and Ray Eames showed a remarkable willingness to keep experimenting and playing with a design that was so immediately popular and iconic; there are few designers, and few companies, that have the were-withal to adjust an already popular design. But Charles and Ray Eames, and Herman Miller, are cut from a different cloth than the average furniture company, and the average interior and industrial designer.
The willingness of Herman Miller and Charles and Ray Eames to change, re-design, and experiment is rare and special. It's just one of the many reasons Smart Furniture is proud and excited to be working with them; our own emphasis on personal design and customizable products meshes perfectly with their own willingness to put decisions in the hands of the users. For instance, not only is this chair available in one of several versions, you can choose for yourself a variety of color options that all make statements about your chair, your room, and your home of office.
The Herman Miller Eames Molded Lounge Chair is also known by the following manufacturer Item Numbers: LCM., LCM.AV, LCM.OU, LCM.CX, LCM.11, LCM.15, LCM.9N.
Natural face veneers, hardwood inner plies, and a 5-ply seat and back. Polished chrome-plated or powder-coated steel legs and self-leveling nylon glides.Upholstery Materials:
Gem: 100 percent antimony-free polyester
MCL Leather: A medium grain and shine leather that will show wrinkles over time and wear wellDimensions:
Overall: 26.5" h x 22" w x 24.25" d
Seat height: 15.5"
Sculpted form. Molding thin sheets of lightweight veneer into gently curved shapes gives the hard material a soft, inviting appearance.
Finish choices. These environmentally friendly aniline stains allow the wood's natural characteristics to show through; cherry, walnut, or natural ash choices continue to be available.
Leg choice. Wood, chrome-plated or powder-coated steel.
A Shape That Sits Well
Natural contours. The five-ply seat and back are designed to comfortably fit the body.
Shock mounts. Made of resilient natural rubber to absorb movement.
In the early 1940s, when Charles Eames was working on MGM set designs, he would return to the small apartment where he and his wife, Ray, were experimenting with wood-molding techniques that would have profound effects on the design world.
Their discoveries led to a commission from the U.S. Navy in 1942 to develop plywood splints, stretchers, and glider shells molded under heat and pressure.
After World War II, they adapted the technology to create inexpensive, high-quality chairs that could be mass-produced. The process eliminated the extraneous wood needed to connect the seat with the back, which reduced the weight and visual profile of the chair and established a basis for modern furniture design. The chair is in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.