The Eames Plywood chair, in different versions including the DCW (Dining Chair Wood), was designed in 1946 by Charles and Ray Eames. It was the first chair in curved plywood produced on an industrial scale, and it was named by Time as “Best Design of the 20th Century”.
The story of the Plywood Lounge Chair, as well as the Dining Chair Wood, is a story of research and innovation in the United States in the early 1940s. At that time, Charles Eames worked as a set designer for MGM and, together with his wife Ray Eames, performed research on wood molding techniques.
In their house, they experimented with a machine called a “Kazam! Machine“. The machine pressed thin sheets of plywood against a heated membrane, which was inflated with a bicycle pump.
Eames Plywood Chair is very comfortable, and moreover is an icon of 20th century design. The shape, modeled on the human body, is wrapping and cosy.
Today the chair, engineered for industrial production, is manufactured by Herman Miller and Vitra.
The organic design
The Eames Plywood Chair by Charles & Ray Eames is rightfully included among the organic design pieces of furniture. In the history of design, the term organic design usually stands for furniture with fluid shapes and soft curves.
In New York, in 1940, the MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, launched a competition for furniture, lamps, and fabrics, with the theme being “organic design”. Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen won the competition, in the “living room” and “chairs” categories, with the “Organic Chair” and armchair, which later became a design icon and was showcased in the exhibition dedicated to the contest, “Organic Design in Home Furnishings“, in 1941, curated by Elliot Noyes.