Eames Wire Chairs, 1951
by Charles and Ray Eames
Perhaps more than any design in their oeuvre, the Shell Chair represents the Eameses’ disinterest in superficial aesthetics and their agnostic approach to material. What mattered most to them was the integrity of the form, function, and context—or as Charles often said: “The best for the most for the least”. It’s this attitude that pushed them to explore the concept of a single shell chair in a variety of finishes, materials, and base configurations.
The Eames Wire Chair is a unique iteration in the Shell Chair’s continuous evolution. In the 1950s, the Eames Office started experimenting in bent and welded wire. Inspired by trays, dress forms, and baskets, the team developed a number of pieces, including the wire version of the single-shell form. The Eames Wire Chair comes with a wire base and an optional seat pad or criss-cross, two-piece leather “bikini” pad.
For Every Need
Charles Eames famously said “The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests”. With the moulded plastic, fibreglass and wood shell chairs, as well as the wire chair, Charles and Ray Eames created a universal response to what everyone wants from a chair: a simple, gracious form that fits any body shape and every place.
In Every Way
Born out of Charles Eames’ and Eero Saarinen’s early investigations into the moulding of plywood at Cranbrook Academy, Michigan, in 1939, and continued with Ray at the Eames studio in Venice, California, the moulded chair is a prime example of the Eames iterative process and their desire to make “the best for the most for the least”. With each new form, finish and configuration, the Eames continued to push the boundaries of what the shell chair could be. After experimenting with single-form plywood and stamped metal, they turned to fibreglass and experimented with bent wire. When fibreglass production proved unhealthy for the environment, the decision was made to switch production to a safer plastic. Today, with advancements in safe fibreglass composition and dynamic veneer technologies, the evolution continues with the Moulded Fibreglass and Moulded Wood Chairs.
The Eames shell chair was designed on the principle of adaptability, offering innumerable configurations to serve a wide variety of applications and environments. It’s what makes the chair a classic worthy of museum collections, as well as living rooms, laundrettes, lobbies and cafés. It’s also what makes it a great first piece of furniture to buy in your twenties, that’s still worthy and relevant enough to hand down to your children 20 years later. A diverse selection of shell, base, colour and finish options enable you to create your perfect chair. Just like every person, every chair has a story.
Visit the Herman Miller website to configurate the product: