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The Office Chair Hall of Fame: Eames Aluminium Chair

This article is a part of Kings Office Furniture Office Chair Hall of Fame series. Other articles of this series can be found here


Eames is undisputably one the biggest names in furniture design world. The Eames office created for over four decades conjuring some of the most iconic designs. Today, any genuine piece of furniture with Eames tag on it, costs thousands of pounds and has many buyers. Comfortable, stylish and long lasting are the three main features of any of the Eames chairs. As this series focuses on office chairs, we will temporarily forget about the famous Lounge chair or the La Chaise and focus on what's, from our perspective, the most notable Eames design: the Aluminium Chair.

Timeless simplicity

When thinking about high-end office chairs, we tend to imagine complex mechanisms, highly adjustable sitting devices. Todays chair manufacturers race towards the best ergonomics, through intricate machines. And yet, one of the most iconic chair, which continuously soars in popularity, embodies the ideal of simplicity. 


The Eames Aluminium Chair is probably the best recognised office chair in the world. 

The form and the shape were designed by Ray and Charles Eames, a very fruitful designer couple. Initiallly the chair was commisioned as outdoor furniture for the home of J. Irwin Miller, but it soon was introduced to office use as production began in 1958.

 

Novel ideas

The biggest design novelty of the chair was parting with the traditional seat shell and employing a fabric stretched between two aluminium members of the frame. The fabric would be a continuous piece, from the bottom of the seat to the top of the backrest. This innovative approach made the chair seat adjust to users body rather than forcing the opposite. 

The frame is made of cast aluminium and consists of the base antlers, side members and a back brace antler, all joined with heavy duty screws. Addiditonally the distinguishable loop armrests are fixed to the frame with the same screws.

 

Comfortable Seating

Aluminium Group Chairs are not "just a pretty face". The simplistic, classic design looks great, but it also packs a substantial amount of comfort. Times have changed and fashion has changed, but human body is mostly the same as it was in the 50s'. The design by Charles and Ray Eames was meant to be comfortable and it is just that. The profiling of the backrest provides good lumbar support. Complemented with a slight incline of the seat part, makes the user slip in the chair and enjoy a firm posture brace.


The chair comes in different variants, high backrest, feet or castors, tilt, leather, mesh or fabric, you name it. All of these variants create the Eames Aluminium Group.

Since the original conception in 1958, there were only a few minor changes to the core design. 

Iconic pieces

The Eames Aluminium chair easily found it's way into popular culture. It has been spotted in a number of movies including The Holiday (2006), Mad Men (2007), Suits (2011), Her (2013), The Gentlemen (2019) and Morbius (2022). Interestingly, the eras portrayed in above mentioned movies span from the 1960s' up to the near future, which accurately presents the design of the chair as timeless.


There are only two companies in the world, who are licensed to manufacture Eames Aluminium chair. Swiss Vitra produces for European and Middle East market and american Herman Miller Manufactures for the rest of the world.


Buyers tip!
If you see a Eames Aluminium chair, but it doesn't have a Vitra or Herman Miller label, you are looking at a replica chair. That means, even if the chair looks exactly the same as a genuine one, it will not be covered by Vitras 30 year or Herman Millers 12 year warranty.


Replicas

Due to their evergrowing popularity the Eames Aluminium Group chairs are subject to unlicensed production. The market is flooded with replica "Eames chairs", which might seem identical to the real ones at first sight, but they usually lack in quality. Some replicas are actually pretty well made, but they never quite match the quality of original chairs. One way to easily filter out fake chairs is to lookout for offers with the word "style" or "replica" in their name. If a chair is surprisingly cheap, then chances are it is a replica.

 

 

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