Onske Blog
Buyers Guide to Eames Style Lounge Chairs

One could argue that Eames was to furniture design what VW was to car design - functional, durable, aesthetically pleasing and to be affordable to the masses, with the exception of their lounge chair and ottoman which has always commanded a premium price.

For most of us, purchasing a licensed reproduction Eames chair, from Herman Miller in the USA or Vitra in Europe, carries a hefty price tag (over 5k on average) and yes, I say 'licensed reproduction', as unless you are lucky enough to find an authentic vintage chair in a garage sale or via Ebay then it is, technically, a reproduction, under license, of the original design.

Fuelled by demand and by the hefty price tag of licensed versions, the replica Eames lounger market has grown in recent years. Design purists have (begrudgingly) accepted that some of the good reproductions available are pretty exact to the specification and quality of the original design, but how does one choose a good reproduction from the minefield of poorer copies and cheaply made imitations?

First and foremost, it would be wise to dismiss anything under circa five hundred. Just ask yourself, would you really get a good quality leather lounge chair and matching ottoman, properly engineered and finished in high quality upholstery and real wood veneers, at that price level? The old adage of "if it's too good to be true, then it probably isn't" remains.

There are mid-priced ranges, which all vary in finish and detail. Some of these will have veneering only on the outside to save on material costs, or may use PVC for the piping trim to save on leather costs.Some are better than others in overall aesthetics.

You then move up to the high-end reproductions which aim to be as close as possible in terms of quality of materials, attention to detail and the overall finish and build.

Here is our buyers guide for choosing a replica Eames lounge chair:

    • Read descriptions VERY carefully when shopping online.
    • Does it say leather? Not 'leatherette', 'faux leather', 'leather seat' or 'leather pad'. Be wary also if it says Piping in PVC as therefore the piping trim on seat edge may not be full leather. If it says 100% leather upholstery, tick OK
    • What type of leather is it? Like any material there are variations in quality. For example, Chinese leathers are often thinner and not as supple as Italian. Again, take note that it does not say 'Italian Style' Leather. Wording is paramount and unscrupulous sellers will try and pass off cheaper chairs by masking the description with carefully chosen words. If it specifies the leather, tick OK.
    • Does it have a die-cast aluminium base?  Again, cheap copies often have alloy metal bases with plastic connections. These are not strong enough to last the everyday actions and movement of such a chair, therefore making them very much NOT fit for purpose. If it says die-cast base tick OK.
    • Real wood grain veneer? The Eames lounger was originally created with between five to seven layers of ply. Cheap copies often use laminate. Quality reproductions will use real wood veneer and therefore each varies and each chair becomes unique in its own particular grain and piece of wood. Again carefully check the wording. If it says real wood veneer tick OK.
    • Visible screws. None should be visible, especially on rear shell braces. This is a real giveaway of poorly made copies.
    • The shock mount Check that this is rubber. Not plastic or metal.
    • Does it require assembly?  If you want to be driven completely mad, then order a flat-packed imitation. Any Eames lounger replica worth its salt should arrive to you assembled.
    NB: sometimes very minor assembly of attaching the two bases upon delivery may be required and this is usually for packing and shipping purposes to protect legs in transit so they do not get damaged if box was to open.
      • Does it include the Ottoman. Take note on this point, some sellers advertise the chair and ottoman separately thus making the initial price look attractive. It is possible to buy them separately but generally they should retail as a matching unit.
      • Look at the overall aesthetic. Good reproductions will stay true to the original in terms of the angle of the chair and base, (it was designed to sit at a slight tilt backwards of approx 15deg), the shape and size of the armrests, the bolt arms on the reverse of the chair back, the thickness of the cushions, the piping and trim.
      • Last, but not least, purchase from a company that you can call up and speak with someone and discuss any aspect in greater detail as required.

      There were manufacturing variations to the chairs over the years and different bases were designed for the US and European markets and slight differences were designed on US and European models so dimensions of models varied and some were produced slightly wider and larger.

      There is a wealth of information available online about the history of these chairs so it is also worth doing some research on the different styles and the design history  to help with the decision on choice of base, leather and veneer you would like.

      You can also view further details and specification on our Eames style lounge chairs at https://onske.co.uk/products/inspired-by-eames-lounge-chair-and-ottoman-in-italian-leather
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        Bauhaus Style Furniture

         

        Bauhaus - what was it and how do you achieve the 'Bauhaus look'?

        Staatliches Bauhaus was a physical college, an institute of design, in Dessau, central Germany, founded by Walter Groupius in the mid 1920's. Following the end of WWI a small group of designers saw the emergence of machines, the new technologies and new materials that had been developed during the war and looked at using these to mass-produce consumer goods. The movement grew to include furniture, household consumer items and also strongly featured graphic design and typography.

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Their vision was to connect traditional craftsmanship with functional technology, thus making it a very futuristic movement of its time. It was very much 'the rise of the machines'.

        Their approach was to adopt the mechanical and industrial aspects of the design rather than hiding them. Their use of new materials of the time such as tubular steel, leather, glass and canvas and combining these was a ground-breaking change from traditional Victorian and Edwardian wood crafting. In an era that was known as 'the roaring '20's', Bauhaus embraced this new sense of change and the breaking down of old boundaries, which made it all very exciting!

         

        The school closed in 1933 due to the political situation in Germany and the rise of the Nazi movement but its influence continued, especially through the work of Florence Knoll and the Knoll Furniture Company in the USA and right up to graphic design and typography used today.

         

        Core designs in furniture include the Wasilly chair, which was the first to use bent tubular steel and canvas and was apparently inspired by a bicycle.

        William Wagenfeld's lamp was an early Bauhaus design and shows the functionality and aesthetics very beautifully.

         

         

        Other furniture of the era by Mies van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray and Hoffman carry a strong Bauhaus influence in their design and form.

         

         

         

        Mix and match some of these iconic furniture pieces with some 1930's typographic posters or art-work to create that Bauhaus look that remains as futuristic as ever today.

        Read more on other 20th century furniture styles.

         

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        Care Of Marble Tulip Tables
        A natural material that has created some of our worlds most beautiful sculptures and architecture, marble remains timelessly desirable and durable, blending equally as well into modern contemporary homes as it does within formal surroundings. The word, 'marble' is derived from the Greek meaning 'shining stone
        It is flawed in its natural beauty. Inconsistencies in the veining and colour are normal and part of the charm. Older tables have chips and dents that often tell the story of a good dinner party.
        Marble is a porous rock from the limestone family and it will quickly absorb water and liquids. It will also fracture from heavy blows, crack with extreme changes in temperature, and stain from acids in natural dyes and food colourings, therefore, it needs to be cared for and maintained adequately, so that it can age gracefully.
        Prevention is better than cure, so most importantly ensure that the table top is sealed. A sealant fills in the pores in the stone and repels liquids. Your local hardware shop or local stonemason should be able to advise on the different sealant options available with the different finishes, from polished to matt. (See links at end of this article for details of some sealant options).
        A marble sealant should create a waterproof barrier and prevent stains from setting in and allowing you time to mop up any spills. Sealants normally will last up to three years, however, it is prudent to re-seal once a year, if the table top is in regular use. You can check how well the sealant is holding up by splashing a little water onto the marble top. If it stops forming beads of water, then it is time to apply a fresh coat.
        Avoid using wax polishes on marble tops as over time it may yellow the stone. There are a number of specific marble polish products available at most large supermarkets or hardware shops, that will maintain the stone's lustre and shine better.
        Marble has more pores and dents more easily than granite, so scratches and pitting can show up. Inspect the table top regularly as any dent or pitting can allow water or acids to get into the stone. Dents and scratches can be touched up using Cif, Ajax, or other very mild abrasive. For deeper scratches, use an acrylic-laquer touch-up product similar to one you would use for car scratches.
        For daily cleaning, don't use an abrasive or ammonia based cleaner . Warm water and a little washing up liquid is the best option and dry off the table top with a kitchen towel or microfibre cloth immediately after.
        Everyday use – the do's and don'ts
        Water, wine, coffee, juices, dressings and condiments can contain acid, which, if splashed, can leave a flat or cloudy patch etched out, so use placemats and coasters always so get into the habit of using these from the moment your table arrives.
        Don't leave a potted plant on the table for long periods of time, as it is potentially corrosive. Similarly, flower arrangements in vases, should have a mat beneath. The calcium and minerals in the water will etch into the surface and can leave permanent stain rings which are very difficult to remove without sanding off a top layer of the marble.
        Never put a hot saucepan, bowl or pan directly onto the marble. Use suitable mats that can conduct extremes of heat or cold away, plus stainless steel pans could scratch the surface.
        Mop up any spills straight away – this is probably the golden rule for marble tables. Mop up, wash off and dry off.

        Stubborn Stain – First Aid for your table using a home-made poultice

        A poultice is a cleaning paste that is applied to a stain for a period of time to draw it out of the material it has stained. A similar process as putting salt on to soak up wine stains. The type of cleaning agent depends on the composition of the stain.

        Making a poultice

        Use flour for the poultice base, and then add:-
        hydrogen peroxide for food stains
        dishwashing liquid with oil-based stains,
        household bleach for mold or mildew
        sodium hydrosulfate for rust stains.
        Mix the flour with the appropriate additive above until it forms a smooth paste.

        To apply ; Spread a 1/4-inch thick layer of the poultice over the stain using a plastic knife. Extend the coverage a 1/2-inch around the outside edges of the stain.
        Cover the area with a sheet of clingfilm attached to the surface of the table with masking tape. Put several small holes in the clingfilm to allow air to flow. (The clingfilm prevents the the poultice from drying out before acting on the stain, while the air holes allow it to draw out the stain slowly as it dries).

        Allow 24 hours for the poultice to be absorbed fully into the stone.

        Remove the clingfilm, and then scrape away the poultice with the plastic knife. Wipe the surface clean with a dry towel. Once dry, examine the marble for any further signs of the stain. If staining remains, repeat the process as needed until it disappears.

        Seal the marble area where the poultice was applied.

        Marble sealant products in the UK:

        Here are just a few suggestions on where to gain further information on the types of marble sealant products on the market;-

        http://www.stoneandtilesealershop.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=202486

        http://www.sealer-seal-sealant.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=222148

        http://www.homecareessentials.co.uk/acatalog/Rustins_Stone_Seal_Impregnating_Sealer_250ml.html?gclid=CNjbwufZ3ccCFcUcGwodKfYPFQ

        http://www.pureadhesion.co.uk/lithofin-mn-stain-stop-natural-stone-impregnator-sealer-250ml.html?gclid=CKvon4_Z3ccCFSQFwwod1igFVw

        20th Century Furniture Styles

        1920's - a decade of glamour with a new youth class emerging after WW1 and when a new profession called the 'interior designer' rose to prominence.

        Moderism emerged with Bauhaus in Germany. Art Deco was emerging in Paris.

        Key looks were geometric and angular. Materials were chrome, mirror and glass.

        For furniture: strong single pieces such as the Bibendum chair, tubular side table or day bed inspired by the designs of Eileen Gray, or Le Corbusier Barcelona style chairs and day-beds are an excellent choice. Read more on Bauhaus Style Furniture.

         

         

         

        1930's – the Art Deco decade was the golden decade of stylish travel.

        Architecture reflected this in buildings such as the Lawn Road Flats in London and Embassy Court in Brighton with their sleek outlines, like giant ocean liners and the curved lines of outdoor swimming lido's.

        Inside, styles embraced striking colours such as red, black, and silver, with stained glass panels and animal prints. Three-piece suites and radios came into fashion with bakelite, an early plastic, coming into use for switches, radio cases and household items.

        For furniture: Think leather and tubular steel for chairs. The Wassily and Corbusier LC Basculant sling chair make great period pieces as do the leather LC Corbusier inspired sofas and matching arm chairs or the Florence Knoll sofa and armchair.

         

         

        1950s - After a decade of war, a boom in post-war building saw new and smaller sized houses being built, so space saving furniture like ironing boards and sofa beds emerged together with appliances like fridge freezers and and fitted kitchens.

        Materials like formica, wire, ply and vinyl came to the fore.

        Charles and Ray Eames, the giants of 20th century furniture emerged during this era with their plastic, fibreglass and ply furniture and in the UK similar fresh design came from Robin and Lucienne Day.

        For furniture: Eames style pieces are easily blended in to most modern décor schemes. Whilst Jacobesen's egg and swan chair designs for the Raddison SAS hotel in Copenhagen redefined sculptural styling.

         

         

         

        1960s – the space age and the flower power decade reflected into interiors which was a bit of a mish-mash of older styles like art nouveau swirls being given a cheeky twist together with vibrant oranges, purples and neon greens being the colour of choice. Habitat opened its doors and it was also the decade of plastic and fibreglass moulded shapes.

        Saarinen designed tulip chairs featured on the first TV series of Star Trek, so For furniture: think fun pieces such as Aero Aarnio's sculptural pod and bubble and ball chairs.

         

         

        1970s - Turquoise, yellow, orange and brown. Sometimes called "the decade that taste forgot" white plastic and fibreglass and teak were THE colours for furniture.

        Organic shapes plastics, faux fur or leopardskin on upholstery, the classic '70's shagpile carpet and rattan peacock chair fitted perfectly with the hippie, spiritualist movement that had emerged from previous decade.

        For furniture: think space age pod egg chairs, Saarinen style tulip tables and chairs and Panton styles.

         

         

        1980's – think disco balls, spinning lights, black décor, mirrored walls and ceilings and chrome.

        It was also the decade of big shoulder pads and the 'Yuppie' was born, who went onto create their own new style incorporating bare brick walls, stripped wood floors...in fact, a lot of what we are doing today.

         

         

         

        1990's – finally after three decades of gloss, screaming colours and plastics, people retreated back to nature – specifically to pine. This was most certainly the decade of pine furniture and magnolia.

        For furniture: look for Ron Arad style designs, chrome and tubular steel chairs and sculptural design styles of Philippe Starck and early Tom Dixon.

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