The DCW (Dining Chair Wood) bears witness to the ultimate success of Charles and Ray Eames' early experiments with moulding plywood into complex shapes. Made entirely of ash wood with a natural or black-stained finish, the appearance of this iconic chair remains as contemporary today as when it was first conceived.
Charles and Ray Eames spent many years experimenting with new techniques for producing three-dimensionally moulded plywood seat shells that conformed to the contours of the human body. They achieved this with the chairs in the Plywood Group, which have matured into classics with an appearance that still looks contemporary today. For the Plywood Group, they also combined chair tops with different bases. Thanks to the organic shape of the plywood shells and the slightly flexible backrests, these light and compact chairs are extremely comfortable – also in the versions without upholstery.
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.