The Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are icons of modern design. They are an organic continuance of the themes explored in the Eames Plywood Lounge Chair, using contemporary material and forms to express similar ideas about how furniture should look, and how it should work in the typical American life. They come in many different styles, including the armchair version, the side chair version, and the Eiffel. They have become an integral part of American design and American leisure, and they can be found in schools, homes, office and public places throughout the country even today, more than 60 years after they were first introduced. That’s the definition of classic; the definition of lasting design, and the definition of iconic furniture.

The distinctive egg shape of the Eames Molded Plastic Chair is immediately recognizable to several generations of Americans. They’ve been copied and co-opted dozens of times over, and they’re a staple of the playroom, the auditorium, the school and the modern park bench. The bright, bold colors and the smooth, comfortable contours of the molded plastic form a pleasing, playful, and attractive combination that has truly endured the test of time.

Charles and Ray Eames are the most successful, accomplished, and popular furniture design team in American history. They built an amazing amount of classic furniture in their half century career together, and most of it is still being produced and sold in large numbers today. Their contributions to American and world culture didn’t stop at furniture, however. They also made films, took a prodigious amount of historic photography, and built children’s toys and designed homes. They were renaissance designers, capable of practically anything and masterful in their execution of several different kinds of art. Their Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are a just one part of their vast and imposing legacy.

They designed and produced the chairs for the first time in 1948. They’ve been in production ever since, and are now built at Herman Miller. They were one of the major furniture pieces that Charles and Ray would build within a relatively brief period, including the Plywood Lounge Chair, the Management Chair, and the Eames Lounge Chair. They are possibly the most popular of all, when looked at from the perspective of their ubiquity – you see them everywhere, even today, and their egg shape, which was original at the time, is now a design theme seen in many different kinds of chairs.

They stylish look of the Eames Molded Plastic Chair describes much of its appeal. There are a few different looks for the chair, including an armchair version and an Eiffel version featuring a very interesting wire base. But all have in common a single shell, multi-contoured sitting surface that combines the back and the seat. This gives the chair a look that is both insular and open – open the way a flower is open, insular the way a womb or hollow is. It’s comfortable and modern at the same time – outgoing and bright, but also a great place to take your rest or read a book. The comfort and soft curves of the chair lend themselves to quiet, and the bright, vivid colors lend themselves to expression and personality.

The chairs are not large, and therefore they can be used in all kinds of rooms and arrangements, and they’re great for kids as well as adults. The Eames believed in design that worked for lots of people – they cared about popular taste just as much as critical taste, and their work did much to shape both. The Eames Molded Plastic Chair is a perfectly preserved example of classic modern style.

A chair made of plastic was a major innovation in 1948, when the Eames Molded Plastic Chair made it’s highly successful and much publicised debut. Even more important to Charles and Ray, however, as the single shell mold they were able to use to produce the chair.

When Charles and Ray originally conceived of the Molded Plywood Chair, they had wanted it to be all of a piece, a single shell that formed the base and the seat. But wood, even plywood, didn’t have the combination of flexibility and strength that plastic did. With plastic, Charles and Ray were finally able to see their dream turn into reality.

The Eames Molded Plastic Chair was far ahead of it’s time in terms of material, shape, and single-shell innovation. It might be more accurate to say out of time – like nearly everything Charles and Ray made, this chair is just as fresh and lovely today as it was 60 years ago.

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