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What's In It For You

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Product Story

Who doesn't recognize the Eames lounge chair and ottoman? These pieces live in museums like MOMA in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, in stylish interiors around the world, and as a tattoo on a devotee's arm. They have been the subject of documentaries and books. The quintessential modern classic, the set is now available in an expanded range of materials, to suit any interior and every taste.

Own a True Icon of Modern Design

When the set was introduced in 1956, there was nothing else like it. The design was completely new. It has not only endured for more than 50 years—it has become one of the significant furniture designs of the 20th century. Instantly recognizable. And still fresh.

As popular as it's become, the lounge chair remains grounded in the original details that continue to distinguish it. From the innovative hardware that fastens the cushions to the shells without marring the appearance of the wood to the fact that each piece continues to be assembled by hand, the combination of craft and manufacturing consistency results in pieces that are often copied but never duplicated.

Expanded Options

Two different varieties of high-quality leather. Two different finishes available for the wood veneers. The same high level of quality and workmanship, regardless of the choices you make.

Choose contract-grade leather or our new MCL Leather offering that is closer in feel to the aniline leather used on the original chair and ottoman. MCL Leather is a premium, semi-aniline, dyed leather with 100 percent natural full grain. Color variations and surface marks are an inherent characteristic of this material, which will acquire wrinkles and creases and develop a rich patina over time.

We are reviving an oiled finish for two of the available wood veneers—walnut and santos palisander. The oiled finish closely matches the look and feel of the finish used on the original design and gives the veneers a lustrous appearance. Just like the original oiled finish, it will need to be maintained with periodic hand oiling.

You can also choose the standard, high-performance lacquered plywood shell, which requires nothing more than dusting. The lacquered finish is available on all four wood veneers—cherry, walnut, santos palisander, and the new white ash.

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

White Hot

Perfect for today's lighter, airy interiors, the chair and ottoman are offered in an all-white version—pearl MCL Leather and a white ash shell that complements the white leather. The ash veneer is finished with a process that arrests the wood in its natural, "freshly cut" state—a creamy white that will not turn yellow or golden over time.

The metal components of the chair have been updated to a white finish that highlights the polished aluminum accents on the base.

Luxurious Comfort and Support

The comfort built into the Eames lounge chair and ottoman helps explain its enduring popularity, compared to other chairs that are also considered icons of 20th century design.

The foam cushions mimic the look and feel of the original but will not flatten or clump over time. As Charles Eames described them, "The leather cushions do have built-in wrinkles to start with, but that is a clue that spells comfort to come, like the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt."

The seat is permanently tilted at a 15-degree angle to take the weight off your lower spine and distribute it properly to the back of the chair. The lower cushion piece supports your lower back. The result? You feel relaxed. The angle supports your chest so that you can be comfortable as you read, watch a movie, or have a conversation.

The ottoman also provides a health benefit. Most of us sit or stand all day, so blood collects in the lower extremities. Resting your feet on the ottoman helps restore normal blood circulation.

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Unparalleled Craftsmanship

Like all classics, the chair and ottoman just get better with age. Both are hand-assembled with great attention paid to the details. Shells are 7-ply veneers. Cushions are individually upholstered and replaceable; back cushions are interchangeable. The back braces and bases—of both the chair and ottoman—are die-cast aluminum. The chair base has a built-in swivel mechanism. Shock mounts are resilient natural rubber. Stainless steel glides are adjustable.

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Earth-Friendly

In keeping with our environmental commitment, we replaced the endangered Brazilian rosewood used on the original chair with santos palisander, a richly grained veneer that looks like the original rosewood but is a sustainable product. All veneers used on the chair and ottoman are from sustainably managed forests.

We use 24% recycled materials in our chair and ottoman, which are 65% recyclable. It's much more likely, however, that you will "recycle" the chair and ottoman by passing them on to another generation.

Design Story

Charles and Ray Eames made the lounge chair and ottoman as a gift for their friend Billy Wilder, the director of "Some Like It Hot" and "Sunset Blvd." When we began manufacturing the set in 1956, we maintained as much of the hand-craftsmanship as was possible with mass production. Throughout the Eames/Nelson era, we came closer than anyone else to incorporating craft ideals into the mass production of furniture.

But over the years, some efforts to improve the quality of the pieces came at the expense of craft. We chose a contract-grade leather that wore better and faded less than the original aniline leather, and in doing so we surrendered some of the soft hand of the original leather. We discontinued oiled wood finishes in the 1980s in favor of the more efficient and easily maintained lacquer.

Now we are restoring the balance—and letting you make the choice. The new MCL Leather provides much of the softness and "sink-into-it-iveness" of the original, along with durability and color-fastness. The oiled finishes, while requiring periodic maintenance, produce the rich, lustrous look of the original veneers.

These pieces have evolved over the years—from handmade for a friend, to made on a production line with handcrafting details, to alterations meant to ensure consistency and durability, to reviving some of the original craft qualities while maintaining durability. And that evolution demonstrates how we honor our design heritage while offering you the best possible product, and the piece of furniture that best suits you.

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