The Eameses created the Stacking and Ganging Side Chair in response to demands for a lightweight, stacking chair that could be set up quickly for seating large groups and, at the same time, be stored easily.
The chairs can be ganged in straight or curved rows. When stacked, the side hooks support and separate the seats so as to avoid abrasion. Each chair adds 2¼” to the stack, so that fifteen chairs, for example, stack to a height of 63¼.”
Charles and Ray constructed the shell prototype for today’s model from coated metal. They later altered their design, favoring molded plastic reinforced with fiberglass because of its practicality. The material does not show scratches and is easily cleaned with a cloth.
In this example of the side chair, parts are distinct and clearly demonstrate their purpose and function. The base is constructed of bright plated, seamless steel tubing. The stacking and ganging device of the same material protrudes from each side of the base. The chair is equipped with ball joint nylon glides to compensate for uneven floor surfaces. The base is attached to the molded shell by four rubber shock mounts or rubber discs designed to “absorb shocks and distribute stresses.” There are no bolt heads protruding through the shell, as the mounts are secured to the shell by a resin adhesive. Both the molded shell and the shock mountings are innovations in furniture design credited to Charles and Ray Eames. Its popularity is indicated by its use throughout the modern world, especially in libraries and lecture halls where mass seating is required.