Wire Chair (1951)

Designed by Charles and Ray Eames out of welded steel wire, the Wire Chair is a variation on the theme of the organically shaped one-piece seat shell, combining transparent lightness with technological sophistication.

Wire Chiars Designed by Charles & Ray Eames
Manufactured by Vitra,

Image source: https://www.vitra.com/en-cz/product/wire-chair

In the 1950s, Charles and Ray started experimenting in bent and welded wire. Inspired by trays, dress forms, and baskets, the Eames Office developed a number of pieces, including the wire version of the single-shell form. The Wire Chairs are available exclusively from our two partners, Herman Miller and Vitra. Those by Vitra are either chrome plated or with a powder-coated finish well-suited for outdoor use.



Perhaps more than any design in their oeuvre, the shell chair represents the Eames’ disinterest in superficial aesthetics and their agnostic approach to material. What mattered most to them was the integrity of the form, function, and context—or as Charles often said:

The best for the most for the least.

It’s this attitude that pushed them to explore the shell chair in a variety of finishes, materials, and base configurations.

Top view Wire chair, ca 1951 photograph

Image source: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/eames/beauty.html

The Eames Wire Chair is a unique iteration in the shell chair’s continuous evolution. In the 1950s, the Eames Office started experimenting in bent and welded wire. Inspired by trays, dress forms, and baskets, the team developed a number of pieces, including the wire version of the single-shell form. The Eames Wire Chair comes with a wire base and an optional full-piece leather seat pad or crisscross, two-piece “bikini” pad; both versions are available in a variety of colors.

The Wire Chair is available without upholstery, with a seat cushion or with a two-piece seat and back cushion known as the ‘Bikini’ pad due to its shape.

Image source: https://twentytwentyone.com/product/vitra-eames-dkx-wire-chair

Charles Eames famously said:

The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.

With the molded plastic, fiberglass, and wood shell chairs—as well as the wire chair—the Eames have created a universal response to what everyone wants from a chair: a simple, gracious form that fits any body and every place. The chair was designed on the principle of adaptability, offering innumerable configurations to serve a wide variety of applications and environments. It’s what makes the chair a classic worthy of museum collections—and living rooms, Laundromats, lobbies, and cafés.

Historical context

The furniture designs the Eames’s are rooted in the functionalism of American modernism of the postwar period. Charles and Ray Eames developed a clear, functional designs, such as the Plastic Chairs that precisely matched to the needs the people of their time, and often experimented with advanced production methods and new materials.

Wire Chair, Designed by Charles & Ray Eames, 1951

Image source: https://hivemodern.com/pages/product1492/herman-miller-eames-wire-side-chair-wire-base

With its unmistakable characteristics, the Eames Wire Chair DKR is not just aesthetically charming, but reminds us of the emergence in the 1950s of popular culture: a movement which in terms of furniture design brought decorative elements back to the forefront; with its cool, shiny steel wire and “lascivious” bikini shaped padding, the Vitra Wire Chair Bikini represents more than most other furniture objects the decadent pop culture of 1950s America.

The Wire Chairs by Charles and Ray Eames echo the form of the Eames Plastic Chairs.

Image source: https://www.vitra.com/en-hu/living/product/details/wire-chair-dkw

Charles and Ray Eames

The two designers followed a succint, yet thoughtful philosophy:

The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.

Charles Ormond Eames, Jr. (1907–1978) and Bernice Alexandra “Ray” Kaiser Eames (1912–1988) were an American design married couple who made significant historical contributions to the development of modern architecture and furniture. Among their most well-known designs is the Eames Lounge Chair. They also worked in the fields of industrial and graphic design, fine art, and film. Ray Kaiser Eames and Charles Eames worked together as creative partners.

Charles and Ray Eames were a husband and wife American design team who profoundly shaped “the look” of America between 1930 and 1970.

Image source: http://www.objectifixation.design/charles-and-ray-eames/

Ray and Charles Eames are among the key players in the history of the twentieth century design, and to this day their designs have lost none of their relevance. The Wire Chair was launched in 1951, shortly after the Plastic Chairs. Until the death of Charles Eames and the subsequent closure of the Eames Studios in 1978 many other designs were added to the Eames portfolio, designs which today are among the design icons of the 20th century.

Swiss furniture brand Vitra has released a powder-coated version of the Eames Wire Chair, making it suitable for outdoor use.

Image source: https://www.dezeen.com/2014/06/14/vitra-eames-wire-chair-chair-outdoor-use/

Data Sheet

Designers: Charles and Ray Eames

Year: 1951

Manufacturer: Vitra, Herman Miller

Materials: Welded steel wire, chrome plated or powder coated

Dimensions: h.850mm x d.430mm x l.490mm

Wire chair dimensions

Image source: https://www.designcollectors.com/en/vitra/charles-ray-eames/chairs/1186-wire-chair-dkr-5

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