Why Buy Authentic Eames? Posted October 15, 2020 by Daniel Ostroff

Last year I had a very good reminder of why it’s always best to buy authentic Eames designs, made by one of our two partners, Herman Miller and Vitra.

If you buy a new Eames Sofa Compact it is made the same way as it always has been made. It also comes with a great guarantee and is available in many beautiful and colorful fabrics.

If you are concerned about good value, consider how well authentic Eames products are made, and that decades from now you will still be able to get replacement parts, if needed.

Most of the Eames Sofa Compact parts are made of steel, and they rarely break. In all of my years (since 1987) of Eames design study, during which time I have examined and photographed multiple vintage Eames Sofa Compacts, last year was the first time I came across one with a broken part.

I wanted an Eames Sofa Compact upholstered in charcoal/black Naugahyde (material no longer offered on new ones). Last year I found a used one with this upholstery.

This sofa was already forty-five years old when I bought it. The original upholstery looked good, and the seller assured me that the foam was still pliable. However, when the sofa arrived, one side of the seat cushion was off-kilter. One could sit on the left side of the sofa with no problem, but the right side was inappropriately low and obviously too “soft.” So I looked underneath.

What was off-kilter about my sofa was that one of the two thin metal straps that support the seat cushion had, after forty-plus years of use, broken.

Charles and Ray Eames carefully considered every detail of their designs. They didn’t believe in the concept of “no user-serviceable parts.” All authentic Eames designs are made in such a way that if, after several decades, a part needs to be repaired or replaced, it is easily accessible. The two metal straps in question are each secured by two simple screws.

These are part “16” on this schematic diagram. I removed the broken one and sent a picture of it to Herman Miller Customer Service.  They said, “Oh, send us $25 and we’ll send you a replacement part.”  I sent them $50 because I decided to replace both. When the parts arrived, with one screwdriver and ten minutes, I restored the balance and comfort of my seat cushion.

Now, this sofa is good for another four decades of use, at the very least.

Service and performance are in the “DNA” of authentic Eames products.

Don’t you wish that everything you buy had easily repairable, easily replaceable parts? Eames designs do, and that’s why I buy authentic Eames.