Since the early 1950s, when Charles and Ray Eames developed their Plastic Chairs, these furnishings have become icons of American mid-century modernism. In particular, the DAR chair (Dining Height Armchair Rod Base) stands out as an inimitable classic design combining light, elegant forms with structural strength in the intricate steel wire construction of its 'Eiffel Tower' base.
The Eames Plastic Chairs are renewed versions of the legendary Fiberglass Chair. As the very first industrially produced plastic chair, it was originally developed by the Eameses in collaboration with Zenith Plastics for the 'Low-Cost Furniture Design' competition organised by the Museum of Modern Art.
In the current versions made of polypropylene, these chairs provide even greater comfort. The wide selection of bases makes it possible to use the chairs in a variety of settings: from the dining room or home office to the garden. Different colours and upholstery versions provide many options for combining individual chairs to meet various needs.
From 1941 to 1943, Charles and Ray Eames designed and developed stretchers and leg splints made of moulded plywood, and in 1946 they exhibited their experimental moulded plywood furniture at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The Herman Miller Company in Zeeland, Michigan, subsequently began to produce the Eameses' furniture designs. Charles and Ray participated in the 1948 'Low-Cost Furniture' competition at MoMA, and they built the Eames House in 1949 as their own private residence. Around 1955 they began to focus more on their extensive work as photographers and filmmakers, and in 1964 Charles received an honorary doctoral degree from the Pratt Institute in New York.
The Eames Office designed the IBM Pavilion for the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York, and the year 1969 offered the opportunity to participate in the exhibition 'Qu'est-ce que le design?' at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. In 1970-71, Charles was appointed as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. MoMA again presented an exhibition of the Eameses' work, entitled 'Furniture by Charles Eames', in 1973. Charles Eames died in St. Louis in 1978; Ray's death followed in 1988.
Charles and Ray Eames have had a profound and lasting influence on Vitra. The company's activity as a furniture manufacturer began in 1957 with the production of their designs. Yet it is not just the products of Charles and Ray Eames that have left their mark on Vitra. Even today, their design philosophy continues to profoundly shape the company's values, orientation and goals.