When Ray and Charles Eames’ classic molded side chair was first produced, in 1951, it was one of the first industrially-manufactured plastic chairs on the market. The wonder of technology went on to become a much-loved classic—today, it’s enjoying a renewed popularity thanks to the popularity of Mid-Century modernism.
The side chair may be a classic, but it’s also been customized in a hundred different ways. Even the Eameses themselves tried out dozens of variations, adding different bases, “bikini” covers, and horsehair cushions. And since then, many other artists and designers have tried their hands at making a mark on the side chair—from a knit version to a Federal seal version.
Here are some of the most notable variations:
This is original look, made from fiberglass and marked by a simple four-leg base.
Herman Miller produced these federal eagle-printed side chairs with Eiffel bottoms in the early 50s. The pair is definitely something for a collector!
Some custom Eames pieces, like this set that has the Beatles' faces on it, have you wondering why some people want to mess with a good thing.
But in spite of all the interpretations of the side chair, Herman Miller is still producing the pure, classic version. And it's also producing its own variations. This year, for the first time, the Side Chair is available in molded wood.