Time magazine called the LCW “the chair of the century.” Read more about it below in an excerpt from An Eames Primer by Eames Demetrios.
“In 1945, as the sense grew that the war was coming to a close, the Eames Office, now two years old and some 15 people strong (including the folks manufacturing the splints), turned its attention back to furniture. With the important experience of the war years behind them, Charles and Ray pushed harder than ever. If there were a way to make a single-piece shell of molded plywood in complex curves, the Eames Office would find it. The office began working toward introducing the furniture at a December 1945 show at the Barclay Hotel.
“Meanwhile, on the design front, Charles and Ray and the office staff were pushing—and pushing—the limits of the material. What was the honest use of molded plywood? Could it be a single-piece shell in complex curves? The cast of characters for the Barclay Hotel show was beginning to take shape in Charles’s mind, but the headliners (meaning the single-piece shells) were not ready. Legs developed that used the curved wood. Three-legged chairs with metal legs, case goods, and tables, but always the frustration of the shell. Each time a split was necessary to make the curve work. In the end, they abandoned the idea of a single-piece shell and instead broke it into two parts: a seat and a back. They had finally uncovered the honest use of molded plywood. The LCW, the chair that resulted in 1945, is now an icon of American design. Time magazine called it “the chair of the century.” Did Charles and Ray regret the five years of work spent trying to make it one piece? On the contrary: about a different project that followed a similar iterative process, Charles said, “This way we know we have the right answer.”