eames lounge chair and ottoman

Eames Lounge Chairs are probably one of the most iconic chairs of mid-century modern furniture design. For over sixty-three years, the original design by Charles and Ray Eames has turned head over heels the world of mid-century modern design and since its creation, only small details of the manufacturing process have changed so far, and only for the better.

But as soon as you think of buying an Eames Lounge Chair, whether an original one or a high-quality reproduction, you’re faced with a myriad of selections, colors, ply veneers, upholstery textiles, and variations available in the market. Choosing the best materials for our Eames Lounge Chair can be an overwhelming task. And if your budget is tight and you can’t afford an original, try finding a high-end faithful replica to the original can make this process even more difficult.

That’s where Manhattan Home Design comes in. We’re honored to provide you all the information you need about all the materials and manufacturing process we use with our Eames Lounge Chair replicas. That way, you can make an informed decision when buying an Eames Lounge Chair replica, knowing what to look for, and all the different models and choices available to you along with some other important details.

What is the Eames Lounge Chair made of?

Before we start discussing the best choices of materials for your Eames Lounge Chair, we need to define what these materials are. The original Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are made of molded plywood and leather. Charles and Ray Eames were already tinkering with molded plywood (using it in another of their famous creations: the Molded Plywood Lounge Chair) when they started working on the design of the Eames Lounge Chair. The Eames couple used the experience to reinvent the lounge chair, a mid-century modern classic in every home in America. The Eames Lounge Chair is the result of their efforts.

In the furniture design industry, molded plywood is the term for the material made with multiple veneer layers that are glued together through heat and pressure in a pressing tool. These veneer layers are arranged crosswise at an angle of 90 degrees (otherwise it is called laminated wood.) 

Furniture manufacturers often use molded plywood for flat furniture components such as seats, backrests and seat shells, but also for armrests and chair frames. Once they press the molded plywood veneer layers, they process the blanks mechanically. Manufacturers then have the ability to produce different variations of shapes from these blanks. Molded plywood is the go-to choice for interior decoration, seating furniture and bed slats for to its great strength and low weight.

Which veneer should I choose for my Eames Lounge Chair?

When you’re buying an Eames Lounge Chair replica, the first thing you must know and consider is which plywood-veneer should you choose. You’ll find many variations in the market featuring have walnut, palisander, Santos palisander, veneer, but unless you’re familiar with woodworking or furniture design, it’s hard to know what those terms even mean.

Charles and Ray Eames only used selected choices in the original design of the Eames Lounge Chair. The wood needed to be not only beautiful, but sturdy yet flexible, and thick without being too rough.

A curious fact: originally the Eames Lounge Chair originally featured Brazilian Rosewood but since the 1990s, the use of Brazilian rosewood was discontinued for more eco-friendly and responsible choices. Brazilian Rosewood was then replaced by seven layers of plywood covered by veneers of walnut, palisander rosewood, cherry, white oak, and ebony ash. Our high-end Eames Lounge Chair replicas feature only the two most popular, walnut and palisander rosewood. Let us examine each one and help you decide which one is the best for you.

Walnut Veneer

Walnut veneer is has been an essential raw material in furniture manufacturing for centuries, especially in Europe. People associate walnut veneer with wisdom and knowledge and this ancient belief permeates the veneer and the plywood that ultimately ends up on each Eames Lounge Chair replica we produce.

Walnut Veneer creates a pattern in each Eames Lounge Chair replica that is rich, organic, and deeply complex. The finished product has a very light color that goes perfectly well in office settings and homes with darker walls, creating a dynamic look against the expected in a mid-century modern design setting.

Walnut is also famous for a distinctive lack of any noticeable smell, but it makes up for this in versatility. An Eames Lounge Chair replica made with a walnut veneer will look really well in white spaces, along with gray areas. If you choose this plywood veneer for your Eames Lounge Chair, combine it with green colors on curtains, pillows and other decor accessories.

Palisander Veneer

The alternative is Palisander Veneer, which is a bit more varied in tone. This is because of palisander stems from two main sources: Brazilian rosewood and East Indian rosewood. Both kinds of wood are very rich in both smell and texture, and they can be a bit more dramatic than walnut veneer, so to speak. As we said above, all the Eames Lounge Chairs manufacturers discontinued Brazilian Rosewood many years ago due to environmental concerns.

The Palisander Veneer in our Eames Lounge Chair replicas is often more associated with feelings of luxury, wealth, pride, and beauty. Palisander Veneer has been one of the raw materials mostly used for great guitars, and many other musical instruments, since the beginning of the 20th century. Palisander’s particular name comes from a French loanword that originated from Dutch, it refers to the rich tonality found on the fresh timber of the tree.

Palisander Veneer has a particular reddish color that is considerably more noticeable than the usual brown walnut and will probably play better in rooms that feature a lot of wooden furniture, too. This makes palisander plywood veneer ideal for home design. If you’re combining furniture in different woods don’t worry about this too much, the most important thing is to make your Eames Lounge Chair replica plays along with your overall style or home design.

So there you have it, all the relevant information you might need when choosing the plywood veneer for your Eames Lounge Chair replica and some ways you can apply it to your home design. I hope you’ve found this information useful and stay tuned for more articles and information about the materials we use in our Eames Lounge Chair reproductions and best add them to your home decor.

In our next blog articles, we plan to discuss all the leather upholstery choices we use in our Eames Lounge Chair replicas, along with some valuable information and insights related to this iconic masterpiece of mid-century modern design.