The Eameses were a husband-and-wife team, Charles and Ray Eames, who were well-known for their contributions to the fields of architecture, furniture and industrial design. They are recognized as some of the most important designers of the 20th century. Eames furnishings have since become a must-have in the mid-century modern collector space, their iconic designs have continuously influenced modern furniture design.
One of the most famous Eames furnishings is the Lounge Chair and Ottoman, designed in 1956 for the Herman Miller company. The chair continues to capture the imagination of enthusiasts and designers alike, as it remains one of the most iconic pieces of furniture ever produced. It was initially released as the 670 Lounge Chair with its corresponding 671 Ottoman. Over time, different finishes and materials were added, including rosewood, walnut, and cherry. Depending on materials and age, these chairs can sell up to six figures, especially those in excellent condition.
Another highly valued Eames furniture item is the Eames Molded Plywood Chair. This iconic, curved chair was designed to be affordable, lightweight, and comfortable. Its striking form has stood the test of time and is still manufactured today. These chairs have a higher value if they are in good condition and come with an original label, denoting the maker and the period in which it was created.
The Eames Wire Chair is another iconic design that has been produced since 1951. Its open wire frame provides a light and airy design, which is functional and sculptural. The wire chair is both elegant and comfortable, reminiscent of the designs of the 1950s. Its sturdy construction and a wide range of upholstery options have helped to keep it as a popular choice for both commercial and residential furniture.
Eames fiberglass chairs are another valuable item in the Eames collection. These chairs were the first plastic chairs to be manufactured commercially. Their unique design continues to inspire designers today, and they are still produced by Vitra, one of the original manufacturers. Some of the earliest produced chairs in this line can fetch very high prices.
Several other Eames furniture designs fetch very high prices at auction. One of these is the Eames Sofa Compact, a small sofa for cramped quarters, which is highly prized by collectors. The Eames Aluminum Group, including chairs, tables, and other items designed for outdoor and indoor use, is another highly collectible and valuable line.
When it comes to collectible Eames furnishings, there are several factors that influence the value of the piece. Rarity is a significant factor, with items produced in smaller numbers or limited editions fetching higher prices. Condition is another factor, with well-preserved or restored items commanding a higher price. Provenance, or the documented history of the item, also plays a part, as do age, materials, and construction techniques.
In conclusion, collectible Eames furnishings are among the most sought-after pieces in the lucrative vintage furniture market. Their iconic designs and unparalleled craftsmanship have left a lasting impact on the design world. When considering investing in an Eames piece, collectors should consider all the factors that go into determining the overall value of the piece, such as rarity, condition, authenticity, and provenance, to ensure they are making a wise investment and will enjoy a beautiful and valuable item for years to come.