Eames Elephant

DATE - 1945, 2007

Charles and Ray had a soft spot for elephants. In 1945, while they experimented with molding plywood into compound curves, they designed a group of animals for children to sit on. Two prototypes of the elephant were developed and displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946.

Eames Elephant

During the famed molded plywood experiments which produced classics like the Eames LCW, the Eames Office designed a playful group of animals as toys or furniture for children: including the Eames Elephant.

Three of the animals, the frog, bear, and seal, were mocked up in metal, while the elephant was initially prototyped in cardboard. Later, two birch prototypes of the elephant and three horses were fabricated.

Admired for their majestic size and gentle nature, elephants are part of our everyday experience as animated characters, storybook figures, and children’s toys.

During the Eameses’ lifetimes, the elephant never went into mass production. Vitra changed that when, in 2007, they honored Charles’s centennial by producing 2,000 plywood elephants—1,000 red and 1,000 natural.

Shortly thereafter, Vitra released the elephant in durable plastic for children to enjoy.

Whether used as a toy or for decoration (inside or out), this friendly-looking animal, with its distinctive, over-sized ears, brings cheer to kids and adults alike.

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