51 Eames Wire Chairs Reimagined for Charity Posted January 14, 2016 by Ross Atwood

In December 2015, Vitra donated 51 Eames Wire Chairs to be reinterpreted by some of Europe’s finest creatives and auctioned off for charity. From a barbecue grill to a signature red Louboutin pad, these adaptations are worth checking out.

How much fun would Charles and Ray have had looking over 51 artist adaptations of their iconic Wire Chair? Perhaps it would have been reminiscent of 1950, when Eames friend and painter Saul Steinberg famously drew a cat on an Eames Molded Fiberglass Armchair (on view at the Barbican Centre through February 14, 2016). Steinberg also re-imagined an Eames La Chaise, drawing a naked lady whose figure follows the curvature of the sleek lounge chair perfectly, further emphasizing its organic shape. 

eamescat2This is the fifth year that Vitra has supported the annual auction benefiting La Source, an organization whose mission is to help underprivileged children find and express themselves through art. In previous years, they have done similar challenges around other famous furniture designs.

The one-offs from this year were temporarily on display at Hôtel de L’industrie in Paris, and sold at auction December 14. Gérard Garouste, the artist who founded the non-profit organization, also took part in the challenge. He chose to do away with the physical chair, opting to create a painting of it instead.

The event has been auctioneered for the past 18 years by Simon De Pury, co-founder of Phillips de Pury & Company. When asked why he thought the Wire Chair was an intriguing design to adapt, he explained that, “Whether it’s chairs, tables, objects, a pair of sunglasses, every now and then you have one item that becomes completely iconic, so iconic that even if you’re not in that field, it is engrained in your subconscious. The Eames Wire Chair is clearly one of these iconic items. It is interesting to see how each artist reinterprets it in his or her own way, particularly with something that is so much a part of our collective unconscious.” (Read the full interview from Designo here.)

A long list of prized European designers participated in the challenge this year, including Jasper Morrison, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Matali Crasset, Mathieu Lahanneur, Christian Louboutin, Inga Sempé, Robert Stadler, Philippe StarckJeremy Maxwell Wintrebert and many others.

Check out a few of the submissions below:

barbecue-eames-by-5-5-designstudio-c-5-5-designstudio-article-coverBarbecue Eames by 5-5 designstudio © 5-5 designstudio

Don Quichotte, Charles et Ray Eames by Gérard Garouste © Hugo Miserey

Jeanne by Jean Charles de Castelbajac © La Source

1449475718-99cc6Buttress by Rodolphe Parente © Hugo Miserey

30.La-chaise-d-honneur-by-ChristianLouboutin-©HugoMisereyLa chaise d’honneur by Christian Louboutin © Hugo Miserey

50.OP-Chair-by-PierreYovanovitch-©HugoMisereyOP Chair by Pierre Yovanovitch © Hugo Miserey

23.PistilChair-by-MarianneGuedin-2-©HugoMisereyPistil Chair by Marianne Guedin © Hugo Miserey

13.Wire-plant-by-NoeDuchaufourLawarance-©HugoMisereyWire Plant by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance © Hugo Miserey

Charles and Ray designed the Eames Wire Chair in 1951 after they began experimenting in bent and welded wire. Inspired by trays, dress forms, and baskets, the Eames Office developed a number of pieces, including the wire version of the single-shell form.

The shell design combines transparent lightness with technological sophistication. Available exclusively from Vitra and Herman Miller, the Wire Chair is offered without upholstery, with a seat cushion, or with a two-piece seat and back cushion thatdue to its shapeis nicknamed the “Bikini Pad.” Vitra also offers a powder-coated finish that is well-suited for outdoor use.

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