Reduced Brackets (Outgrowing Eames)June 14, 2022
Ray and Charles Eames first introduced the Eames Lounge Chair (670) and Ottoman (671) in 1956, a time when people were considerably smaller than they are now. Some fifty years later, sales of the chair declined because its potential customers had become taller. Since we use our body to measure reality the chair was considered to be smallish and rather uncomfortable for a luxury product. In response, the producers of the chair and the heirs to the Eames estate introduced a larger version of the original chair, the Eames Lounge Chair (New Dimensions). The new dimensions amount to a larger seat, a bigger headrest and longer arm rests which translates into more wood, more leather and more aluminum. As such the new dimensions symbolise man’s willingness to sacrifice an ever larger part of our planet’s limited resources to cater to our comfort.
In an equally symbolic act of resilience The Incredible Shrinking Man is currently reducing an Eames Lounge Chair (New Dimensions) back to its classic dimensions by simply removing the extra added material. This process of reduction is open to the public at the Depot of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The process involves sawing the plywood shells, cutting the leather upholstery, and resizing the aluminum brackets that connect the plywood headrest to the rest of the chair. The reduction of the aluminum brackets was executed by expert welder Paul van Gerwen and included removing 3 sections and a total of 4 cm’s of excess aluminum. However, to re-attach the separate parts of the reduced brackets some aluminum was added during welding (Aluminum oxidises so fast during the welding process that it is impossible to simply melt the two pieces together). Practically this means we couldn’t salvage as much material as we would have liked, but it is still a solid reduction. The visible welds meanwhile remind us that shrinking may not always be an easy process, and might leave scars, but that there’s new beauty to be found as well. Next up, the plywood shells.