With the 1946 introduction of their boldly original molded plywood chairs, designers Charles and Ray Eames established their long and legendary relationship with Herman Miller. Our exclusive Herman Miller Select 2008 Edition draws on the materials and finishes of an early model. It has all the aesthetic integrity, enduring charm, and comfort that prompted Time magazine to name this chair The Best Design of the 20th Century.
What's In It For You
You can tell it's Eames at a glance. Lounge chair, dining chair. Both with wood or chrome-plated steel legs. Molding thin sheets of lightweight veneer into gently curved shapes gives the durable material a soft, inviting appearance. The chairs work just about anywhere?from homes and offices to schools and public areas.
The chairs are offered with richly grained birch veneer in bright colors that recall the times when the chairs were introduced. The environmentally friendly aniline stains we use allow the wood's natural characteristics to show through. You can also have them in natural cherry, walnut, and light ash.
A Shape that Sits Well
In their search for a better way, Charles and Ray Eames developed an innovative technique for molding plywood. The process allowed them to bend wood furniture in new directions and give hard materials a soft look.
The contours the molding process creates out of plywood fit the body's shape. The plywood has five plies, with hardwood inner plies. Natural rubber shock mounts absorb movement.
The story behind the Eames molded plywood chairs makes clear just how big a role imagination and serendipity play in design. In the early 1940s, when Charles Eames was working on MGM set designs, 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 US Navy to develop plywood splints, stretchers, and glider shells, molded under heat and pressure, that were used successfully in World War II.
When the war was over, Charles and Ray applied the technology they had created to making affordable, high-quality chairs that could be mass-produced using dimensionally shaped surfaces instead of cushioned upholstery. When they found that plywood did not withstand the stresses that occurred where the chair seat and back met, they abandoned their original single-shell idea in favor of a chair that had separate molded-plywood panels for the back and seat.
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. Sculpting a seat and back to fit the contours of the human body, they designed a truly comfortable chair that's suitable for businesses and homes.