In the early 1940s Charles and Ray Eames spent several years developing a technique for moulding plywood into three-dimensional shapes to create seat shells that followed the contours of the human body. They achieved this in 1945 with the chairs of the Plywood Group, which have since matured into classics with an appearance that still looks contemporary. Vitra presented the Plywood Group in new configurations at the Salone del Mobile 2018.
Charles Eames described the idea for the Plywood Chair as follows: “The idea was to do a piece of furniture that would be simple and yet comfortable. It would be a chair on which mass production would not have anything but a positive influence; it would have in its appearance the essence of the method that produced it. It would have an inherent rightness about it, and it would be produced by people working in a dignified way. That sounds a little pompous, but at the time it was a perfectly legitimate thing to strive for.”
In order to produce the Plywood Group, layers of plywood are bent into shape. The gently curving surfaces of the thin wooden back and seat shells give support to the body. The individual elements are fixed to the frame by means of supple rubber discs. Thanks to the organic shape of the plywood shells and the slightly flexible backrests, these light and compact chairs offer great comfort – also in the versions without upholstery.
The shells of the Plywood Group can be combined with different bases to offer models in various seat heights. The compact chairs are newly available with seat shells in dark pigmented walnut or natural ash. In addition, the black powder-coated metal base can now be combined with all seat shell versions. The new wooden variants give the chair a fresh elegant look, while the clean linear contours of the black chair legs – which resemble the early originals – exude lightness and grace. The CTM club table also now comes in the new choices of wood and base, and the Folding Screen can be ordered in the additional new ash wood variant.
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