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Charles Eames

American, 1907-1978

The legacy of Charles Eames looms large in design. In partnership with his wife, Ray, Charles was at the forefront of pioneering innovation in the use of molded plywood for furniture making. The Eameses’ cheerful and inviting work has endured among the most important advancements in the history of 20th-century design.

Together, visionary mid-century modern duo Charles and Ray Eames introduced a wide range of renowned furniture to the postwar market, including iconic designs such as the Eames lounge chair and ottoman, the wildly colorful birch plywood-and-plastic-laminate Eames storage unit, the Eames compact sofa and more. The designers were trailblazers in molded plywood furniture and brought lively organic form to metal and plastic.

Charles Eames studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. He traveled to Mexico and Europe, and experienced firsthand the work of designer-architects Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In 1930, upon returning to Missouri, Eames opened an architecture practice with Charles M. Gray but later moved to Michigan in 1938. He received a fellowship at Cranbrook Academy of Art, which would become a breeding ground for the stars of mid-century design. Eames continued his architecture studies at Cranbrook and also taught in the design department.

In 1940, Eames met his future wife, artist and designer Beatrice Alexandra "Ray" Kaiser, who was studying at Cranbrook under Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann. Charles teamed up with another Cranbrook instructor, Finnish-American designer Eero Saarinen, to explore the possibilities of plywood for use in furniture design.

With support from Ray, Charles and Eero created chairs and case pieces and submitted them to the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City — among them was the groundbreaking organic Side chair made of molded plywood with maple legs. It was upholstered by Heywood-Wakefield. This exhibition is considered critical by many to the popularization of what is known as mid-century modernism. Eames and Saarinen won first place for their submissions to the competition.

Charles and Ray were married in 1941 and soon after moved to Los Angeles, California, and lived in an apartment building designed by architect Richard Neutra. Charles worked on set design at MGM, and at night, in a humble workshop they established in the guest bedroom, he and Ray experimented with molded plywood on a homemade device they called the “Kazaam!” machine. In 1942, the couple won a U.S. Navy contract to create molded plywood leg splints that would be used to support wartime medical efforts. Soon, the Evans Product Company was making the splints and the Eameses opened the famed Eames Office and studio.

The Eameses’ innovative use of wire framing, molded plywood and applied fabrics caught the attention of many notable figures in interior design and architecture, including George Nelson, director of design at Herman Miller, a now-legendary modern furniture manufacturer. The company enlisted the Eameses’ talents and was eventually home to the couple’s classic pieces such as the Eames DCW chair and the DCM chair.

Find an extensive array of vintage Charles Eames seating, tables and case pieces on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$7,150
Styles
Materials
Related Creators
Charles & Ray Eames EA219 Office Chair in Chrome and Aubergine leather, Vitra
By Charles and Ray Eames, Charles Eames, Vitra
Located in Amsterdam, NL
Beautiful office chair EA219 belonging to the iconic Aluminium Series designed by Charles & Ray Eames for Herman Miller (US) / Vitra (EU). Exceptional comfort is guaranteed with the ...
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Charles Eames

Materials

Aluminum, Chrome

Vintage Eames Rosewood Lounge Chair, c. 1965
By Charles Eames
Located in Charlottesville, VA
Vintage Eames Rosewood Lounge Chair, c. 1965. Black leather with wear and some slight damage but having a fine patina. 30.75” h. x 32” d. x 32” w. (the chair).
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Charles Eames

Materials

Leather

Charles Eames / Herman Miller / Girard Padded Arm Shell Swivel Aluminum Base
By Charles Eames
Located in Buffalo, NY
Unusual Charles Eames / Herman Miller / Girard Padded Arm Shell Swivel Aluminum Base.. White fiberglass shell with amazing green naugahyde and Alexander Girard fabric seat. small ho...
Category

1960s Mid-Century Modern Vintage Charles Eames

Materials

Aluminum

Charles & Ray Eames DSX Side Chair Natural Multicolor Set for Herman Miller
By Charles and Ray Eames, Charles Eames, Vitra, Herman Miller
Located in Amsterdam, NL
Iconic side chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller / Vitra. Molded fiberglass shells in the colours: Parchment, Raw Umber, Elephant Hide Grey and Black. Assembled...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Charles Eames

Materials

Metal

Pair Eames / Herman Miller Aluminum Group EA116 Swivel Lounge Chairs
By Charles Eames, Herman Miller
Located in Buffalo, NY
Stunning Pair Electric Blue Eames lounge chairs from the 'Aluminium Group'.Collection. Designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1958, The aluminium chair is one of the most outstandin...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Charles Eames

Materials

Aluminum

Midcentury Eames for Herman Miller Mid-Century High Back Aluminum Group Chairs
By Herman Miller, Charles Eames
Located in BROOKLYN, NY
Ask for custom shipping quote For sale are these authentic Eames for Herman Miller Aluminum Group chairs in premium plush black leather with high-backs. An icon of Mid Century Moder...
Category

Late 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Charles Eames

Materials

Aluminum, Chrome

Plywood Dining Chairs Charles + Ray Eames
By Charles Eames
Located in Los Angeles, CA
classic California design Herman Miller manufacturer mixed woods, birch, ash and walnut unfortunately, they were once painted black they've been restored back to natural satin wi...
Category

Mid-19th Century American Mid-Century Modern Antique Charles Eames

Materials

Wood

Charles & Ray Eames EA117 Office Chair in Aubergine Leather and Aluminum, Vitra
By Charles and Ray Eames, Charles Eames, Vitra
Located in Amsterdam, NL
Iconic office chair EA117 belonging to the famous Aluminum Series designed by Charles & Ray Eames for Herman Miller (US - EA334 Management Chair) / Vitra (EU). Exceptional comfort is...
Category

1950s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Charles Eames

Materials

Chrome, Aluminum

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Charles Eames furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Charles Eames furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Charles Eames furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Charles Eames were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Russell Woodard, Arthur Umanoff, and Selig. Prices for Charles Eames furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $142 and can go as high as $133,498, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $2,352.
Questions About Charles Eames
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Charles and Ray Eames have been recognized as the 20th century’s most influential designers and are best known for their highly recognizable chairs. The Eames lounge chair and ottoman are an iconic duo in modern-styled furniture, and s​ome of the first Eames items to emerge from Herman Miller are now classics: the LCW, or Lounge Chair Wood, and the DCM, or Dining Chair Metal, supported by tubular steel. Find vintage Charles and Ray Eames furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 21, 2024
    Charles and Ray Eames were related by marriage. Charles studied architecture and industrial design. Ray (née Bernice Alexandra Kaiser) was an artist who studied under painter Hans Hofmann. They met in 1940 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Detroit and married the next year. Shop a selection of Charles and Ray Eames furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2024
    Yes, Charles Eames chairs are comfortable. The Eameses — Charles and Ray — were fascinated by ergonomics and designed chairs with comfort in mind. The legendary mid-century modernist designer-couple famously called their Eames lounge chair and ottoman “a special refuge from the strains of modern living” and described their design as having the “warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.”

    While the couple’s DCW chairs, introduced in the 1940s, prioritized ease of production and affordability of materials, the Eames lounger, which debuted in 1956, was Charles and Ray’s interpretation of luxury furniture. And to the Eameses, luxury meant, above all, comfort.

    Find vintage Charles and Ray Eames furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Charles and Ray Eames are famous for their chair designs. The couple released their first iconic Eames Lounge and Ottoman in 1956 and went on to create more chairs that changed the idea of comfortable seating. In addition to being great furniture designers, Ray and Charles were also graphic and textile designers, architects and film-makers. Shop a collection of Eames chairs from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    For Charles and Ray Eames’ chairs designed for Herman Miller, molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent and welded wire mesh, and cast aluminum were used in production. You can shop a collection of Eames furniture from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Rosewood was the favorite wood of famed American designers Charles and Ray Eames. Rosewood made its way into some of the duo’s most celebrated designs, including the iconic Eames lounge chair. On 1stDibs, you’ll find a collection of genuine Eames furniture from some of the world’s top sellers.

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