La ChaiseWhile Charles and Ray Eames were not the first to design furniture using plastic, their work with the synthetic material is among the most celebrated.

La ChaiseWhile Charles and Ray Eames were not the first to design furniture using plastic, their work with the synthetic material is among the most celebrated.

Issue 23

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Design

While Charles and Ray Eames were not the first to design furniture using plastic, their work with the synthetic material has become some of the most celebrated. In 1948, just after World War II, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum Design Project, Inc., launched the Competition for Low-Cost Furniture. Intended to solve a lack of available low-priced furniture and improve post-war living standards, the contest drew 3,000 entries from around the world. It was here that the Eameses debuted their voluminous plastic design for La Chaise, its name and form both a nod to modernist sculptor Gaston Lachaise.

Plastic was experiencing a coming of age—a synthetic novelty that, it seemed, could be used to make just about anything. Stamped steel and aluminum, the materials that the ...

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