Wood is a material that has been used for thousands of years, providing everything from warmth to tools to furniture and to shelter. This being said, the behavior of wood and its performance abilities are well known; however, as designers it is in our nature to push a material’s potential to the max. In the case of changing the common wooden chair, no one embodies this development like design gurus Charles and Ray Eames.
Pure pieces of wood are not too incredibly flexible, depending on size and type. If you try to bend a piece of wood it will obviously crack at some point. How can you extend the breaking point while keeping the strength and durability of the material? Charles had a goal to make a chair out of a single piece of wood. Through many attempts and manipulations he found that with a single piece of wood this was not yet possible, but with a few curved pieces a uniquely designed chair could be built.
The material chosen by the Eames for this chair was plywood. Through years of trial and error, the Eames discovered that “super heating” the plywood would create “perfect and smooth curves.” This chair that the Eames designed has a curved back, mimicking the natural resting curve of the human back, and an undulated seat. The molded plywood chair has been come to be known as the Lounge Chair Wood and the Lounge Chair and Ottoman.
The Lounge Chair Wood does not show the natural flat form of plywood. Wood can be seen its usual shape in in the chairs of Frank Lloyd Wright designed dining room sets. Chairs are commonly built in a post and lintel fashion. This design of the typical chair is very flat. It does not accommodate the shape of the users body, creating an uncomfortable chair for the consumer.
When it comes to goods, it is important that the consumers are offered multiple versions of a wooden chair to fit their desired need. It is up to them, however, to pick a chair that was built for comfort or one for purely aesthetic purposes.
“The Eames Lounge Chair’s Design Story.” The Eames Lounge Chair’s Design Story. N.p., 2011. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.