Husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames created some of the most innovative chair designs of the 20th century. Their chairs were fabricated out of everything from wood and fiberglass to plastic and metal mesh. The pair met at Cranbook Academy of Art in Michigan, and after sorting out some relationship complications (Charles was married at the time), they married and moved to Los Angeles to open a design studio. Despite the fame of their chair designs, one of their greatest achievements wasn’t, in fact, a chair, but a molded plywood splint developed during World War II that replaced the metal traction splints which contributed to gangrene.
Charles and Ray Eames said that “design is a method of action,” and they continually refined their work as new materials entered the market. When these molded plastic chairs were originally created for the MoMA International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture in 1948, they were designed in metal. In the 1950s, the chair was made out of fiberglass, and today it is made from recyclable polypropylene. Charles wasn’t completely satisfied with the fiberglass, and wasn’t until after his death, that, thanks to the advances in materials, his vision for a matte plastic chair was achieved. This chair was available with four different bases, and the dowel legs are one of our favorites options for dining rooms and offices. If you haven’t yet watched “Eames: The Architect & The Painter”, we highly encourage you put it in your Netflix queue for a fascinating look at one of history’s great design teams. See below for some Eames dowel chair inspiration.