Designed by husband and wife duo Charles & Ray Eames, the Eames Lounge Chair is potentially the most iconic chair in modern design history.

Who designed the Eames Lounge Chair?

The Eames Lounge Chair takes its name from the husband and wife team that designed it in 1956. Charles & Ray Eames were a hugely influential husband and wife design team that launched an entirely new style of furniture for the home and office. The couple's elegantly simple approach also influenced other fields such as film and graphic design, as well as having a lasting influence on architecture.

Today, their partnership is considered one of the most significant in American design history. Their immensely practical but elegant style remains popular today, and many of their furniture designs are still manufactured true to the original designs without alteration for modern homes and work spaces.

Attributed with helping to bring modernism to the masses, Charles & Ray Eames chair designs such as LCM, LCW, Plastic Shell Dining Chairs and Eames Lounge chair (all of which are today considered design classics) were focused on providing great design at an affordable price to the largest number of people possible.

The story behind the Eames Lounge Chair and it’s incredible comfort.

Originally designed as a gift for movie director and friend of the designers Billy Wilder (best known for the films “Some Like It Hot” and “Sunset Boulevard”), the Eames Lounge Chair was to be a modern take on the traditional English Club Chair.

Comfort was key to the design, with the designers describing it as a “special refuge from the stains of modern living”. The Eames’ spent years developing a set of standards for this classic style - making it lighter, more elegant and modern than the Club Chair. The result was a chair with “the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt”.

In fact, the chair is so comfortable that it is said Julian Blaustein tested it out for Charles Eames by sitting in it to read scripts, he fell asleep. Blaustein was embarrassed but to the Eames’ it represented a win.

Officially announced live on US national television channel NBC, the chair instantly captured the attention of the world. Today, the Eames Lounge Chair is housed in the permanent collection of over 20 museums worldwide, and has long since attained classic status in the world of design.

Charles and Ray’s friend, artist Sister Corita Kent, did the calligraphy for the first Eames Office graphic of the Lounge Chair. It showed the design in an exploded view.

Image source : Eames Office

The making of your Vitra Eames Lounge Chair

Vitra have been the sole authorised producer of the Eames Lounge Chair in Europe and the Middle East ever since Willi and Erika Fehlbaum founded the Swiss manufacturer in 1957. Cementing themselves at the forefront of design ever since, Vitra continues to produce the Eames Lounge Chair using the exact same manufacturing methods today.

In all, the process of creating a Vitra Eames Lounge Chair involved 47 different stps, all of which are carried out by an expertly trained team of craftsmen. The curved shell sections of the chair require multiple layers of plywood veneer to be glued, heated and pressed over custom moulds, while the leather cushions are lovingly hand-cut and stitched. One of the tell tale signs of an original Eames Lounge chair is the lack of visible fixings, and this is achieved through the use of zippers on each cushion that attach to plastic backing that is clipped onto a number of hidden rings within each shell.

Step inside the Vitra Atelier located on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany

How to tell if your Vitra Eames Lounge Chair is authentic?

The Label

The simplest way to determine if you’re looking at a fake or not is to check the label located on the underside of the shell. Older models may feature a black sticker featuring the brand logo and Eames signature, whereas those produced more recently at Vitra feature a black plaque bearing the product name and brand logo.

Hermann Miller own the rights to production in the US and have their own sticker that identifies the chair as authentic.

The Shell Details

An authentic Vitra Eames Lounge Chair will not havre any exposed screws in the three moulded plywood shells that make up the outer body of the chair. You can also look at the number of layers of plywood used in the shell construction. Vintage originals will have 5 layers whilst more modern originals made by Vitra will have 7. The number may vary in replicas.

The Base

The legs on a genuine Eames lounge chair are at a slight angle but not steep or flat as is often the case with replica versions. Also, look out for the ottoman, as fake versions often have five legs whereas the original has 4.

Measure It

Most modern replicas of the Vitra Eames Lounge chair will differ from the genuine article in terms of dimensions, often being slightly larger and clumsier. To be sure, check out the dimensions listed in the Vitra Eames Lounge Chair Classic Height and new Updated Height.

More on that update now..

Why have Vitra updated the dimensions of the Lounge Chair and does that make it any less of an original?

Why the change?

Charles & Ray Eames spent years meticulously designing a chair that would fit perfectly with the human form, resulting in a chair comfortable enough to fall asleep in. However, since the chair was first released in 1956, the height of the average human has increased by 10cm.

Working closely with the Eames Office over a number of year, Vitra have managed to create a slightly larger version to suit modern audiences. The dimensions may have been adjusted but the design remains the same, with both Vitra and the Eames Office satisfied that every lounge chair produced today still gives the user the exact same experience that Charles & ray intended.

Does the change make it any less authentic?

This question may divide opinion but the Eames Office (who are entrusted with communicating and preserving the work of designers Charles and Ray Eames) official stance is that both chairs featuring the classic dimensions and modern dimensions, produced by Vitra, are 100% fully licensed originals.

Is the original size still available to buy today?

Yes, you can purchase both the classic size and modern updated size right here at Utility.

The Eames Lounge Chair is a beautiful, iconic piece of design history, and will continue to stand the test of time both in terms of design and build quality. 

If you think the Eames Lounge Chair is something you’d be interested in investing in and you have more questions, please feel free to contact us any time.

And finally, since we recognise that designs such as this are investment pieces, we do offer (outside of sale period) 12 months interest free credit on new orders.

Want more? The official Eames Office have put together a list of "12 Things You Didn't Know About The Eames Lounge Chair" which is definitely worth a read.