Eames Lounge Chairs and Ottoman officially titled Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671), were released in 1956 by Charles and Ray Eames after years of development. Their design resulted in probably the most iconic and recognized representation of American mid-century modernism. Charles Eames himself said his goal for the chair was that it be “a special refuge from the strains of modern living” and we intend to honor that idea with each of our Eames Lounge Chair replicas.
Like any good marriage, Charles and Ray Eames worked closely together on their Eames Lounge Chair. They brainstormed and experimented with several typical materials from that era: wire mesh, fiberglass, plastic and metal. In the end, they decided to return to their old favorite: molded plywood. Both designers toiled relentlessly on their designs until they got every last detail right. At Manhattan Home Design, we are proud to offer a true reproduction of this masterpiece, made following all original specifications with the same accuracy and attention to detail.
We’re proud of our reproduction process and our replicas being voted as the closest to the original, so we’ve decided to share our manufacturing process and take you behind the scenes of how each Eames Lounge Chair replica is made.
How our Eames Lounge Chair Replicas are Made
Our manufacturing process is almost the same used for the original Eames Lounge Chair. Likewise, all of our Eames Lounge Chair replicas are made mostly by hand.
It all starts the highest quality leather. Leather pieces are laid out and examined for any slight imperfections. We search for and mark any flaws, scars, bug bites, or defects that we don’t want in the finished Eames Lounge Chair. These flaws are then picked up by a computer scanner which then calculates the best way to cut the hide from these scans. The patterns can be automatically nested or placed basically avoiding all the defects in our finished product. This same computer also cuts the leather, creating all the pattern pieces for the Eames Lounge Chair replica cushions.
The Sewing Process
You can rest assured that there’s absolutely no automation in this part of the process. We believe in a true hands-on American craftsmanship. Every one of our Eames Lounge Chairs is sewn by hand. They start by sewing the arms, the seats, and back pieces. Then the Eames Lounge Chair replicas cushions go to the upholsterers who stuff them with high-density urethane foam.
Buttons are then sewn in place hand using a sturdy twine. Each button is upholstered with a button pre-creases the leather material and softens in so when you put your legs up on ottoman it’s already compliant and adapting to your body. These buttons provide tufting to the upholstered cushions cinching the foam and the leather to give the Eames Lounge Chair replica finished pieces their shape, Strength and that iconic cushiony appeal.
Then, plywood or walnut veneer sheets, depending on your choice, are fed into a conveyor where they receive a coat of glue on both sides. Then, the combined alternating dry sheets with glued ones. The wood grains are crossed for added strength in this part of the process. The wood grain that you choose really gives the Eames Lounge Chair replica a lot of its character.
When the manufacturing process originally began in 1956, rosewood was kind of the high-end look to get. Since using rosewood from Brazil was discontinued in the early 1990s, we use seven layers of plywood covered by finishing veneers of walnut or Palisander, which are more environmentally friendly.
From here the layered veneers go into a press which acts like a big waffle iron. This iron applies a precise amount of heat a pressure to bend the wood. This process hasn’t changed that much since 1956. Just like then, our Eames Lounge Chair replicas are made with laminated pieces of wood bound together by a glue molded under pressure and heat against a master form. Then a computerized routing arm cuts out the shapes of the seat, the back, the headrest, and the Ottoman base.
The Shock Mounts
After all the woodwork is done, circular impressions are sanded. This is where the shock mounts will go. Shock mounts were another clever invention of Charles and Ray Eames. The shock mounts isolate various pieces of the Eames Lounge Chair and allow it to move with the body. That way, the Eames Lounge Chair almost behaves like a rocking chair. So if you were inclined to move in the chair, the Eames Lounge Chair replica would move comfortably with you.
The plywood pieces go through a final sanding and then on to the assembly area. By this point, we’re just double-checking that everything matches. Once the veneer matches, all the connecting hardware is attached and the Eames Lounge Chair seat undergoes a shock mount test.
The Final Tests
The shock mount for the Eames Lounge Chair replica is probably the most critical aspect of the chair and one of the things that we probably spend the most time on. Making sure that it is right.
After the shock mount test, the wood sheets and leather upholstery are united in a marriage of beauty and comfort. The signature 5 leg base screwed on and each cushion is carefully nudged into its plywood shell. Then the final hardware is attached.
There’s one final step before each Eames Lounge Chairs leaves our headquarters. Each and every one of our Eames Lounge Chair replicas, a final shock mount and rocking test to confirm everything is okay and the shock mounts are doing their job.
No wonder our Eames Lounge Chair replica continues to be one of our best selling mid-century modern pieces. Whether it’s the choice of materials— the fillings inside the pads, the quality of the leather— or the fact that is upholstered leather so is already creased and prepared to give and conform to the body, the Eames Lounge Chair remains, even after all these years, an icon of comfort, elegance, and modernism. Order your Eames Lounge Chair replica now, and join this Lounge Chair most exclusive and coveted owners club!