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A Piece of History: The Eames Lounge Chair and How It Defined an Era

In our days flush with endless modern furniture designs, it’s hard to imagine life before the iconic works of Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Borge Mogensen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The rounded curves of Saarinen’s Tulip chair, the simple geometrics of the Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair and the clean lines of Knoll’s sofa all forged the pathway for modern home decor and made pioneers out of talented individuals with futuristic visions.

But who would have thought that their work would go so far as to define an era? Not many at first, but over the years, the artists, critics and public began to “get it,” and eventually they all helped usher in a style that is now considered a staple of design, no matter the decade. However, if there is one piece that has truly shown how innovation and vision can change a culture, it has to be the Eames’s lounge chair. Quite simply put, this chair is one of the most recognizable in the world, and for good reason.

The story began when Charles and Ray Eames set out to create a chair as a gift to their friend Billy Wilder.  If you are a movie fan, you’ll recognize that name because he was the famed director of such classic hits like “Some Like It Hot” and “Sunset Blvd.” As friends, Charles and Ray would often spend time on Wilder’s legendary Hollywood sets, taking in all the sights, sounds and flights of fancy that his movies offered. Legend says that during one of these visits, Charles and Ray noticed that Wilder had rigged together variety of lounge chairs to rest on in between movie takes, and he made these chairs his sanctuary, if only for a few brief moments of sleep. This was the beginning of inspiration for the two up and coming designers.

With Wilder as their muse, Ray and Charles saw a need for a chair that offered comfort, simplicity and elegance. They saw a need for something that offered respite from the hurried chaos of everyday life through the calming rounded curves of the natural world, but they wanted this design to be comfortable and familiar too. But how would they accomplish the task that seemed so conflicting? Clean and natural with familiar and comfort?

After years of experimenting, talking to friends, colleagues and simply observing American society, they had their “light bulb” moment. They knew they had to make a chair that resembled a well-worn baseball mitt. Not only that, but they needed this lounge chair to have all the elements of modern design, such as clean lines, rounded, uncluttered curves and minimal accents. It was a tall order, but they accomplished their task in spades.

First produced in 1956, the chair made its debut on NBC’s Arlene Francis’ Home Show, and was immediately received with accolades. The chair now stands as a testament to an era where furniture went from being practical to iconic, and is now part of the permanent collection in the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

You can also find this chair in many homes the world over, doing what it was intended to do – provide hard working individuals with a comfortable sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Rove Concepts is now featuring a limited edition Eames-inspired chair and ottoman in all-white.  With 100% full grain Aniline Leather imported from Italy, First and Seconds grade American Timber Veneers, and unparalleled craftsmanship, you can open up your space at home with a piece of history and colour that is at once fresh and sleek.

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Posted in Great design, Latest trends.

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