Vintage Eames Vitra La Chaise Chair, Original, Fiberglass First Generation, 1992
About the Item
- Dimensions:Height: 35 in (88.9 cm)Width: 59 in (149.86 cm)Depth: 34 in (86.36 cm)Seat Height: 19 in (48.26 cm)
- Style:Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Place of Origin:
- Date of Manufacture:1993
- Condition:Wear consistent with age and use. Good vintage condition. Minor age appropriate wear. A few imperfections on back , see photos. Presents quite well. Labelled and dated.
- Seller Location:Brooklyn, NY
- Reference Number:1stDibs: LU4190323893512
Charles and Ray Eames
Charles Eames and Ray Eames were the embodiment of the inventiveness, energy and optimism at the heart of mid-century modern American design, and have been recognized as the most influential designers of the 20th century.
As furniture designers, filmmakers, artists, textile and graphic designers and even toy and puzzle makers, the Eameses were a visionary and effective force for the notion that design should be an agent of positive change. They are the happy, ever-curious, ever-adventurous faces of modernism.
Charles (1907–78) studied architecture and industrial design. Ray (née Beatrice Alexandra Kaiser, 1912–88) was an artist, who studied under the Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann. They met in 1940 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Detroit (the legendary institution where Charles also met his frequent collaborator Eero Saarinen and the artist and designer Harry Bertoia) and married the next year.
His technical skills and her artistic flair were wonderfully complementary. They moved to Los Angeles in 1941, where Charles worked on set design for MGM. In the evenings at their apartment, they experimented with molded plywood using a handmade heat-and-pressurization device they called the “Kazam!” machine. The next year, they won a contract from the U.S. Navy for lightweight plywood leg splints for wounded servicemen — they are coveted collectibles today; more so those that Ray used to make sculptures.
The Navy contract allowed Charles to open a professional studio, and the attention-grabbing plywood furniture the firm produced prompted George Nelson, the director of design of the furniture-maker Herman Miller Inc., to enlist Charles and (by association, if not by contract) Ray in 1946. Some 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.
The Eameses eagerly embraced new technology and materials, and one of their peculiar talents was to imbue their supremely modern design with references to folk traditions. Their Wire chair group of the 1950s, for example, was inspired by basket weaving techniques. The populist notion of “good design for all” drove their molded fiberglass chair series that same decade, and also produced the organic-form, ever-delightful La Chaise. In 1956 the Eames lounge chair and ottoman appeared — the supremely comfortable plywood-base-and-leather-upholstery creation that will likely live in homes as long as there are people with good taste and sense.
Charles Eames once said, “The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.” For very good collectors and thoughtful interior designers, a piece of design by the Eameses, the closer produced to original conception the better, is almost de rigueur — for its beauty and comfort, and not least as a tribute to the creative legacy and enduring influence of Charles and Ray Eames.
Design house Vitra has garnered international recognition for more than 70 years — the Swiss family-owned furniture company has outfitted public spaces as well as residential properties and offices worldwide. It has been a proponent of modernist design since the 1950s. While the brand is heralded for its collaborations with mid-century modern icons such as Verner Panton, Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and others, Vitra’s German campus is also home to buildings designed by legendary architects Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry. Among them is the Vitra Design Museum, an independent cultural institution that displays two centuries of design today.
Vitra was established in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, in 1950 by husband and wife team Willi and Erika Fehlbaum. On a trip to New York several years later, Willi Fehlbaum encountered the work of design polymaths Ray and Charles Eames in a furniture store and immediately knew that he had found his bliss.
In 1957, Vitra entered into a licensing agreement with Herman Miller, which saw the company producing designs by George Nelson, the Eameses and others. Later, Vitra partnered with Verner Panton and created the Panton chair, which was the first chair ever crafted from a single piece of molded plastic (it was also the first piece to be independently developed by Vitra). After 27 years of establishing the Vitra brand, the Fehlbaums passed control to their two sons, Rolf and Raymond Fehlbaum.
When a fire destroyed the factory in 1981, the brothers developed the Vitra Factory Campus, subsequently taking the opportunity to redirect the architectural landscape of the company. They created a masterplan with Nicholas Grimshaw, and together they erected four buildings in just a few short years.
In 1988, with the passing of Ray Eames and the disbandment of the Los Angeles Eames office, Rolf and Raymond acquired the furniture design portion of her estate, including the Eames prototypes and experimental models, housed today in the Vitra Design Museum.
Rolf and Roy opened the Vitra Design Museum in 1989. This began a period rich with design relationships, including collaborations with Antonio Citterio, Jasper Morrison, Maarten van Severen, Philippe Starck, Alberto Meda and others.
In 2012, leadership passed to Nora, the third generation of the Fehlbaums. Nora Fehlbaum has, like her grandparents, expanded the company and brought it into the 21st century with the acquisition of Finnish furniture manufacturer Artek. Nora has turned the company’s focus to sustainability yet still maintains its international and cultural relevance legacy.
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