Have you ever wondered about the mysterious acronyms with which furniture by mid-century masters Charles and Ray Eames is named? Well, wonder no more as we explain it in full. Usually made up of three letters, the names describe the main elements of the furniture and encompass aspects such as the height or shape, the style or type, and the material or style of its frame. The Eames’ put this principle into practice with their earliest designs – the DCW and the LCW, which stand for Dining Chair Wood base and Lounge Chair Wood base, swiftly followed by the option for a Metal base: the DCM and LCM.
The most well-known of their designs came in 1950 – the Plastic Chair collection – and provided a plethora of acronyms. But all were based on the same principle:
|DSR||Dining (height) Side (chair) Rod (base)|
|DSW||Dining (height) Side (chair) Wood (base)|
|DAR||Dining (height) Arm (chair) Rod (base)|
|DAW||Dining (height) Arm (chair) Wood (base)|
|DSX||Dining (height) Side (chair) X-base|
|DSS||Dining (height) Side (chair) Stacking (base)|
|RAR||Rocking (height) Arm (chair) Rod (base)|
|PSCC||Pivoting Side (Chair) Cast (base) Castors|
|PACC||Pivoting Arm (chair) Cast (base) Castors|
The Rod-base for these chairs also gave them their unofficial nickname – the ‘Eiffel’ chair – as the base with its cross-bracing bears a very vague resemblance to the shape of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. One slight curiosity is the DKR chair from 1951 – or Dining height Wire shell Rod base – no one seems to know why the letter ‘K’ was chosen to represent the Wire shell. One can only suppose that ‘W’ was already in use for the Wood base, and the letter ‘K’ could possibly look a little like the junctions of the wire shell itself… Another unusual one is the elegant DAL chair, designed along with a table in 1961 at the request of Alexander Girard for his new Manhattan restaurant La Fonda del Sol. The ‘L’ therefore stands for La Fonda base, made in polished die-cast aluminium.
The naming convention did not just apply to chairs. Other types of furniture received the same treatment:
|LTR||Low Table Rod (base)|
|ETR||Elliptical Table Rod (base)|
|EDU||Eames Desk Unit|
|ESU||Eames Shelving Unit|
These simple, functional names seem to reinforce the simple, functional nature of Eames designs. Now, whenever you spot these twentieth century design classics, you will know exactly how it is named.