The Eames Office celebrates the 75th anniversary of La Chaise, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, with a facsimile print of the original entry panels from the The Museum of Modern Art’s 1948, “International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design.”
Set of two Art Prints in a cardboard tube
Dimensions: 20h x 30”w
More about the International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design. Excerpts from The Eames Design Book (1981).
In 1948, under the direction of Edgar J Kaufmann, Jr., The Museum of Modern Art and a group of American retailers and manufacturers organized the Museum Design Project Inc., and sponsored the “International Competition for Low-Cost furniture Design.” The competition was motivated by the urgent need in the postwar period for low-cost housing and furnishing designs adaptable to small housing units. In the introduction to the competition’s catalog René d’Harnoncourt wrote: “To serve the needs of the vast majority of people we must have… mass-produced furniture that is planned and executed to fit the needs of modern living, production, and merchandising.”
Designers were invited to team up with “technologists” to form “design research teams”; six teams were each given grants of five thousand dollars. The Eames Office together with engineers from the University of California at Los Angeles under the direction of Dean L.M.K. Boelter, submitted a set of designs for low-cost seating. This entry stressed Charles’ continuing commitment to reduce the cost of furniture by utilizing factory technologies and mass production.
Graphic panels with mechanical drawings, specifications, photographs, and text detailed the proposed series of low-cost solutions. A full scale model of a chaise lounge, nicknamed “La Chaise” (after it was made, it occurred to the Eameses that a Gaston Lachaise floating figure sculpture could just about fit in it), was made with a stressed-skin shell and a hard rubber and foam core. Both upper and lower skins were made of resin and fiberglass cloth, and the core was composed of variously sized blocks of hard rubber and styrene foam.
Two hundred and fifty entries from the United States and nearly five hundred from European countries — in all, three thousand entries from the design teams — were submitted to the competition jury. The Eames Office/UCLA entry ended up tied for second prize in the Seating Units category.