12 Things You Didn’t Know about the Lounge Chair and Ottoman Posted August 8, 2019 by Marlow Hoffman
Here are 12 things you didn’t know about the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, which has been in continuous production since 1956.
1) Charles and Ray’s friend, artist Sister Corita Kent, did the calligraphy for the first Eames Office graphic of the Lounge Chair. It showed the design in an exploded view.
2) Throughout its more than 60 years of production, the design has stayed consistent, allowing owners of authentic 670s to get replacement parts from Herman Miller and Vitra, regardless of the age of their chair.
3) You can see the design in the permanent collection of more than 20 major museums throughout the United States and Europe.
4) The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman was so admired that Arlene Francis introduced it to a national audience on American primetime TV on her Home Show. It was the first and only chair to achieve such a platform.
5) The base of the 670/671, with its distinctive five blades, was originally designed by the Eames Office as a Contract Table base.
6) For the first ten years of production, the Eames Lounge Chair was offered in leather, fabric, or Naugahyde, but Charles and Ray insisted that the company add a note to the catalog recommending the premium “best aucht” leather. The couple sourced it from Scotland because farmers there didn’t use barbed wire; this resulted in unmarked leather of highly refined quality.
7) Billy Wilder received the second Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman off the production line. It was Charles and Ray’s way of reciprocating a gift Wilder had given them years earlier—a modernist chair, which the couple adored. Charles often joked that he wished he had designed the chair himself.
8) The cushions of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman are not only symmetrical but also interchangeable.
9) The quality leathers used on the 670/671 will last indefinitely because sufficient oils are incorporated into the leather during tanning. The finish is waterproof, but oil or random retail leather-care potions can ruin the finish.
10) In a 1961 Playboy article featuring the contemporary designers seen above, the author said the Eames Lounge Chair “sank the sitter into a voluptuous luxury that few mortals since Nero have known.”
11) Charles invited film producer Julian Blaustein to come to the Office and read scripts while sitting in a test Lounge Chair. When Charles returned, he saw that his friend had fallen asleep. Blaustein was embarrassed, but Charles was pleased.
12) The design duo wanted the 670/671 to have “the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.”