Eames Inspired Chair
Instructor: Eric Olsen
Studio: Woodbury , Materials and method
Site location: Los Angeles , California
Design Intent: The Eames House was part of the Case Study house project launched in January 1945 by the California magazine, Arts & Architecture. This project was a response to the seemingly imminent housing shortage caused by the end of the Second World War. The intention behind the Case Study houses was to investigate how prefabricated materials could aid in the mass production of houses to fill the need for post-war housing. The house is situated on a three-acre site on top of an 150-foot cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The site is a flat parcel on otherwise steep land that creates a retaining wall to be west. The response to this condition was a concrete retaining wall that ties together the two box separated by a courtyard that make up the part of the residence. The goal was to mimic the elements apparent in the Eames House’s structural construction and overall aesthetic. A grid steel frame acts as the building’s structure similarly to the way our frame provides structure for the table. Wood and acrylic mimic the elements of lumber and stained glass apparent in the building's facade.
The diagram shows the different parts our design was to consist of.
From the very top, the planar wood-and-acrylic combination, 1/4” in thickness, was to be held together by the steel casing shown below it. Underneath the bulk of the table’s surface, a griddle steel frame was to be welded in place to provide the majority of weight support.
Finally, the legs for the table were to be welded onto the frame to add to the table’s overall height.
Our construction began with the acquisition of materials. The 1/4” thick wood and acrylic sheets were cut on a table saw into pieces of appropriate sizes. The wood and acrylic pieces were bought at local hardware stores, while the steel components were picked up at a neighboring metal supply warehouse. The total monetary cost of our project is approximately fifty dollars, an amount that turned out lower than we initially anticipated.
All of the frame, surface casing, and legs were to be made by welding together bits of steel.
The pieces, bought from a local metal supply warehouse, were cut into appropriate lengths with a chopsaw.
The cut pieces were then welded together to create the structure of our table. Once the structure was in place, we took time to sand the rough edges and even out surface levels.
Challenges in the metalshop came about most when we realized the ways in which different shapes, types, and sizes of material (metal, in this case) were subject to their own unique behaviors when put to the test by different powertools.
All three of us were new to welding at the commencement of construction, but because welding was our main method of assembly, the task gradually eased after much repetition.
The table’s legs were assembled using magnetic squares-- the squares guided the angles at which the legs would meet their rectangular base, as shown above.
Our steel frame was composed entirely of rectangular pieces, all of which were cuts of a nearly 8-foot long bar.
Measuring, cutting, and welding together the pieces of the frame took a total of about six hours. We used a hand-sander to smoothed the surfaces made irregular by the welding process. The finished design is shown with the frame, spray-painted with a matte-black finish
Once the wood-acrylic casing, frame, legs, and base were welded together, our finishing touches included making sure all of the visible steel was painted black. The wood at the top was painted white, modeled after the Eames House’s stained glass, and the acrylic was left transparent to reveal portions of the gridded frame attached underneath.