'Why don't we make an updated version of the old English club chair?' With this comment, Charles Eames initiated the development of the Lounge Chair, a process that took several years. The aim was to satisfy the desire for an amply proportioned chair that combined ultimate comfort with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. The armchair designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956 set new standards: it is not only lighter, more elegant and more modern than the conventionally ponderous club chair –it is also more comfortable. Thanks to these qualities, the Lounge Chair became one of the most famous designs by Charles and Ray Eames and has attained the status of a classic in the history of modern furniture.Since the Lounge Chair first went into production, average human height has increased worldwide by nearly 10 cm. In close coordination with the Eames Office, Vitra developed the new larger version so that taller people, too, can enjoy the same exceptional comfort that Charles and Ray Eames intended with their original 1956 design.According to their grandson, Eames Demetrios, rosewood was their favourite type of wood, and they wanted the Lounge Chair and Ottoman to have the ‘warm receptive look of a well-used baseball glove’.
For 60 years Vitra has been the sole authorized manufacturer of the Eames Lounge Chair for markets in Europe and the Middle East; the American manufacturer Herman Miller is responsible for all other markets. The cooperation between Vitra and Charles & Ray Eames began in 1957 and continues today in close partnership with the Eames Office, which represents the Eames family. This ensures that every Lounge Chair gives its user the exact design experience originally intended by Charles and Ray Eames. Just as it did 60 years ago, production of the Lounge Chair today requires 47 different steps, many of which must be performed by hand. The meticulous execution of each step, in combination with premium-grade materials, ensures the enduring quality that makes the Lounge Chair last for generations. And if anything might ever need to be repaired, Vitra Service is there to help. Even 60 years from now. A certainty that only the original can offer.
There is almost no other upholstery material that surpasses the longevity, warmth and comfort of high-quality leather. At Vitra, we use different types of leather according to the product and area of application. These vary in thickness and finish, but all originate from cattle raised for meat production. As tanners are obliged to comply with extremely stringent environmental regulations, they have developed cutting-edge technologies for environmentally friendly processing methods. Leather is therefore a sustainable material, whose properties are well suited to many of our products. Leather develops a natural patina over the course of regular use, lending a unique look to each piece of furniture.
Charles and Ray Eames spent many years experimenting with new techniques for producing three-dimensionally moulded plywood seat shells that conformed to the contours of the human body. Today complex industrial methods are used to produce sheets of wood veneer, which are further processed by hand. In most cases, wood from a single tree is utilised for a piece of furniture to ensure the uniform appearance of all surfaces. With only two exceptions, Vitra exclusively purchases veneers with a certificate of sustainability from European producers. Vitra's veneers are finished with a protective lacquer; exposure to light will alter the colour over time.
Invest in an original, for it will always retain its worth. An imitation will never be anything but a copy, a stolen idea. Appreciate the differences – not just the quality and more obvious variances but also the sensory and emotional appeal of the authentic product. An original is a lifelong companion and may well outlive you to be gratefully received by the next generation.