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Eames Special Collection 2023 - Exclusive to Aram

Eames Special Collection 2023

Limited Editions

Update - 31 January 2024: The special edition period for this collection has now ended.

Charles and Ray Eames number among the most important figures in the history of twentieth century design. They created furniture, made films, took photographs and conceived exhibitions. The husband-and-wife team also revolutionised furniture design with their innovative use of plywood, fibreglass and aluminium, in addition to their inventive utilisation of colour. With the Eames Special Collection 2023, Vitra is now producing a number of iconic pieces by Charles and Ray Eames in a selection of new finishes, fabrics and colours inspired by the designer couple's original palette.

Having trained as an artist with an impeccable eye for colour, Ray once declared 'I never gave up painting, I just changed my palette'. She saw her work with colour as not just having an aesthetic purpose but also as serving as a form of expression, a way of conveying information about objects, spaces and volumes - and thus a tool for communicating the right messages and captivating the eye and mind of the viewer. She had learned this from her teacher Hans Hoffmann, a representative of Abstract Expressionism, who was known for his colourful paintings.

Selected iconic creations by Charles and Ray Eames - La Chaise, the Eames Elephant, Eames Wool Blanket, Plywood Mobiles and the Eames House Bird, as well as the Organic Conference chair which Charles Eames developed with Eero Saarinen - were launched for Winter 2023 in a carefully chosen assortment of new finishes, fabrics and colours. Vitra gives colour to the wooden elements in the collection by using the same staining technique that Charles and Ray established and perfected over the course of their career.

La Chaise 75th Anniversary Edition

Charles and Ray Eames designed La Chaise for a competition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1948. The name was inspired by Gaston Lachaise's 'Floating Figure' sculpture, whose voluminous shape has obvious affinities with the lounge chair. As an expansive seat, La Chaise allows a wide range of sitting and reclining positions and has long established itself as an icon of organic design.

To mark the sculptural chair's 75th anniversary, a special edition of La Chaise has been produced with a fibreglass shell in the historical colour Parchment with an oiled walnut base. Limited to just seventy-five pieces worldwide, only three have been allocated to the UK, available exclusively through Aram.

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Organic Conference Chair

The design of the Organic Chair was created by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen in 1940 as part of their winning entry into another competition organised by MoMA entitled 'Organic Design in Home Furnishings'. The catalogue stated:

"A design may be called organic when there is an harmonious organization of the parts within the whole, according to structure, material, and purpose. Within this definition there can be no vain ornamentation or superfluity, but the part of beauty is none the less great — in ideal choice of material, in visual refinement, and in the rational elegance of things intended for use."

The jurors praised the fluid form of the chair, providing continuous contact and support for the body thus ensuring superior levels of comfort. The Organic Conference chair is particularly suited to table seating, with a seat height of 420mm, whilst the other chairs in the range are lower, reading chairs.

Drawing inspiration from Ray Eames' passion for flower compositions, the Organic Conference chair is now available in three colour variants of Raf Simons' Ria fabric made by Kvadrat as part of the Eames Special Collection 2023.

Eames Elephant - Plywood

Charles and Ray Eames developed a toy elephant in 1945 as part of a series of experiments in moulded plywood, along with a horse, seal, frog and bear, but these pieces never went into production due to manufacturing limitations at the time. A prototype Elephant was exhibited at MoMA in New York in 1946 and this still survives in the Eames family archives. Vitra began to produce the Eames Elephant in American cherry veneer plywood in 2007 to mark the centenary of Charles' birth and this year's special edition is in a dark green stain.

Eames Wool Blanket

The Dot Pattern was created in 1947 for a MoMA textile competition. The large-scale composition of crossed lines and dots is reminiscent of the abstract paintings Ray made in the 1930s and a writer for Portfolio Magazine in 1950 commented that the pattern echoed the shadow created on the floor as sunlight fell on the DCM chair - lucky coincidence, perhaps.

The Eames Wool Blankets are produced in a jacquard weave, which means that the colours of the Dot Pattern are reversed on the front and back. Available in several hues, the wool blankets are made of 100% high-quality Merino lambs wool, and are particularly light, fine and soft to the touch while also providing optimal warmth and thermal balance. This year's special edition is a bordeaux colour.

Eames House Bird

Charles and Ray Eames enriched the collage-like interior of their private home, the Eames House, with numerous objects and accessories that they brought back from their travels. For over fifty years, the figure of a wooden bird has stood in the centre of the living room - an artefact that was evidently highly treasured by the couple since it also frequently appeared as an accessory in their photographs. The Eames House Bird is now available in two stained wood variants as special editions: dark green and pale rose.

Eames Plywood Mobile

During the series of experiments that refined their plywood moulding techniques in the early 1940s, Charles and Ray created two objects whose biomorphic shapes are strongly reminiscent of Ray's artwork and graphics. The couple hung them as mobiles from the ceiling of their Los Angeles apartment. Each mobile consists of two abstract, organically shaped plywood elements that playfully revolve around one another. Bi-coloured versions inspired by Ray's collages in pale rose, oxide red and poppy red are this year's special editions.
Historical images of Charles & Ray Eames courtesy of Eames Office © Eames Office LLC.