Construction

Eames Lounge Chair Specs (Image 1)
Source: Fast Company, “Watch: The Handmade Process Behind Your Eames Chair”

Whether you’re making sure your Eames Lounge Chair is the genuine article or just ensuring that your reproduction is are close to the Herman Miller version as possible, it always pays to know the details. There are many things that distinguish a real Eames chair. I’ll run down a few key points so that when you buy yours, you’ll be sure to get what you want.

Eames Lounge Chair Exploded
Source: Mid Century Modernist, “Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

One of the most obvious things about an Eames Lounge Chair is its size. A licensed Eames chair is 32.75” x 32.75” x 32” and the ottoman is 26” x 21.5” x 17.25”. It will be relatively close to the ground and the measurements will be almost square-like. One interesting thing I’ve noticed about it is that it’s smaller than it looks.

Here is a short video made by Charles and Ray Eames showing Charles Eames assembling an original Eames chair:


Source: omidimo, “Eames Lounge Chair Assembly Short Film”

An Eames chair should also be comfortable. The original and good reproductions have four rubber shock mounts positioned so that the chair has some flex. It should be tilted, not upright, and not move too much. You should be able to sit in this chair for hours on end.

Eames Lounge Chair Tilt
Source: Manhattan Nest, “Real vs. Fake: The Eames Lounge”

With an Eames Lounge Chair, there shouldn’t be any exposed screws or bolts. The outside veneer should be molded around the chair shape and the back of the chair should be held together with two metal connectors.

The base is also a good way to tell the quality of the chair. It will be somewhat short so that the chair is close to the ground and have five feet. The top of the legs should be flat, not curved, and be black with a chrome top.

Eames Lounge Chair Specs (Image 2)
Source: Fast Company, “Watch: The Handmade Process Behind Your Eames Chair”

The quality of the leather, cushions and veneers may be the most important things to inspect though. They will be, after all, what you’ll be touching when you sit on your chair. Eames Lounge Chairs should use the highest quality leathers possible, have individually upholstered cushions and use 7-ply molded wood veneers.

Eames Lounge Chair Leather
Source: HBR Textiles, “Products”

In the end, it’s all about what feels good and what will last. Ask your retailer about all these specifications and any more concerns you may have when you buy your Eames chair, whether you find it through a vintage dealer, a licensed retailer or a reproduction company. These little things really do make a difference.


Source: vitra., “Eames Lounge Chair Manufacturing in the Vitra Atelier”

More On How It’s Made:
Harvest, “Creation process of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman”

Gizmodo, “The Making of the Eames Lounge Chair” 

FresHome: Design and Architecture, “How It’s Made : Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman [Video]” 

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