Charles and Ray Eames designed two new fiberglass chairs in 1961: An armchair and a side chair. They set to work on this project in response to a request from their friend Alexander Girard, who needed seating for his new restaurant, La Fonda Del Sol, in New York City’s Time Life Building.
Girard asked for chairs with backs no higher than dining table tops, so Charles and Ray made the backs of these chairs lower than those on the first two Eames fiberglass chairs.
In addition to designing new shells, Charles and Ray developed new, solid cast aluminum bases. Previous Eames contract bases were made in three parts out of steel and aluminum, whereas the “La Fonda” bases were sturdy contract bases made in two steps from one material: aluminum.
The husband-and-wife team also devised a new upholstery system for these chairs with the exclusive Eames edge, which was made of solid rubber. It was a detail they offered on all Eames upholstered fiberglass chairs soon after its development.
The images above show vintage examples of the “La Fonda” chair in original Charcoal Gray Naugahyde. Courtesy of J.F. Chen. © Eames Office, LLC.