Out of all the dining chairs that have ever been designed, how many do you remember? I would assume it’s a handful at best. However, I’m certain that of that handful two would be Eames Dining Chairs. More specifically whether you know them by name of not, these would be the Eames DSW and the Eames DAW.
They’re two of the most recognisable designs that have ever been created for the home and fly in the same circles as the Polaroid Camera and the ballpoint pen. But there’s more to Charles and Ray Eames’ timeless dining chairs than meets the eye; The collection is an impressive range of interchangeable seat tops, leg styles, colours and function.
To help you familiarise yourself, here’s your guide to Eames Dining Chairs.
The Inspiration Behind the Chairs
Charles and Ray Eames began their venture in to furniture design in the early 1940’s, when furniture was commonly made from wood or metal, was often hand crafted, slow to produce and relatively expensive. Their goal was to create furniture that was affordable with Charles stating, ‘we want to make the best for the most for the least.’.
However, before their vision was succeeded, the United States of America entered the war and a shift in the need for military equipment began. Ever functionally conscious, the duo turned their efforts towards designing and creating veneered plywood leg splints for injured soldiers in a process not too dissimilar to their later wooden dining chair designs.
After the war ended the Eameses saw another opportunity for low cost functional design that would ultimately propel them in to the limelight of popular culture and change the way people styled their homes forever. With the plastic and fibreglass DAW chair they entered the International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design. The chairs were highly regarded as the ideal way to solve America’s low-cost furniture requirements.
In 1946 their designs were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and from there the range quickly expanded. A side chair variation of the DAW was created to form the beloved DSW alongside an expanding range of base options which included the Eiffel Chair, the wire base and the rocker base.
Bauhaus may have pioneered function, but the Eameses made it mainstream.
How are the Eames Dining Chairs made?
“What works good is better than what looks good because what works good lasts”, claims Ray. Combine this ethos with their vision of affordable design and we begin to understand why their use of moulded plastics has become such a characteristic of Eames designs. Originally crafted from Zenaloy (a plastic and fibreglass mixture formed by the US Army during World War 2), the chairs, including Pash Classics’ replicas, are now formed from an injection moulded ABS or Polypropylene plastic which is chosen for its strength, flexibility, easy malleability and ease to produce.
This use of plastics has also allowed for an iconic range of colours to be developed. Originally available in only greige, elephant-hide grey and parchment, the Pash Classics Eames dining chair replicas now come in 24 colours, so they truly can be used in any interior.
Taking inspiration from their leg split and standing out from the Eames crowd thanks to their all wooden build are the and DCW and LCW chairs. These striking living and dining chairs are built from layers of veneered plywood which is moulded in to organic shapes that are meant to be enjoyed from every angle.
What Do the Acronyms Mean?
So much so was Eames’ commitment towards simplicity and therefore affordability that the names of their dining chair ranges were condensed into acronyms for easy reference. Each letter refers to a main element of the chair: The height, the style and the base material:
DSW: Dining (height) Side (chair) Wood (base)
DAW: Dining (height) Arm (chair) Wood (base)
DSR: Dining (height) Side (chair) Rod (base)
DAR: Dining (height) Arm (chair) Rod (base)
DCW: Dining (height) Chair Wood (base)
LCW: Living (height) Chair Wood (base)
DKR: Dining (height) Wire (K used for wire) Rod (base)
RAR: Rocking (height) Arm (chair) Rod (base)
The Legacy Continues
Since their creation in the 40’s and 50’s, Eames chairs have been adorning the homes of those who understand the careful balance between function and style across the globe. Their influence on the world of design shows no sign of slowing down.
The full range of Eames Dining Chairs are available at Pash Classics.