Design Trend: All Eames Reproductions are Not Alike | Home Design Find

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Design Trend: All Eames Reproductions are Not Alike

JordanInsley RoveConcepts.profile furniture 2


The iconic Eames lounger, designed by Ray and Charles Eames in 1956, has become one of the most sought-after furniture pieces today.  It exudes California cool, which makes sense, since the duo originally designed the chair for their Hollywood director friend Billy Wilder.  Along with comfort, simplicity and elegance, the Eames chair offers beautifully rounded curves suggesting something organic and sheltering, which also explains why so many of us love to spend hours nestled within its welcoming confines.

Are you thinking of investing in an Eames lounger for your home? If so, you should know that not all reproductions are alike. There are good ones and bad ones, and just as in any investment, it pays to take a little time to do your homework. Here’s what you should look for:

The overall shape. A quality reproduction, such as that manufactured by Rove Concepts,  offers the right proportions. Many poor replicas are much larger than the original designs, but a quality reproduction respects the original intent of Ray and Charles to design a chair that is as comfortable as a barc-o-lounger, but nowhere near as big. Check out the difference below. On the left, you have a poor knock-off that looms over the original design, on the right. At Rove,  the full original specifications and details are incorporated into the design, so if you were to put an original next to a Rove reproduction you would see no discernible difference.  It’s lounge-y comfort without the bulk!



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The proportions are also respected when it comes to the base. A poor reproduction gets the look wrong, inclining the legs at a pitch that’s too steep, as you can see in the photo on the left, versus the original on the right.

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Another important difference is this: when you look at a good reproduction versus a poor one, you will notice that a good one is much more angled, just like in the line produced in 1956.

JordanInsley-RoveConcepts. overall

The armrests
A good reproduction extends the chair’s sleek profile right to the armrests, which are thin. The Rove Concepts armrest, for example,  is contoured to the original design.  Underneath the armrest, Rove uses the same rubber shock mount used in the original.  This is extremely important to create the proper flex while sitting back on the chair. And also important, there are no visible screws on the plywood!

JordanInsley RoveConcepts.armrest furniture 2

Quality leather

Here again, the Rove Concepts reproduction wins out over others. Their version uses high grade Italian leather, and the most expensive type of foam resulting in deep tufting lines. Using the correct foam, the Eames lounge chair looks exactly as it should and even more importantly, sits as comfortably as it should.  Low cost knock offs, on the other hand,  stretch the leather to save on costs, and use cheap foam that quickly flattens.

JordanInsley RoveConcepts.leather furniture 2

The details

Here’s where a quality reproduction really stands apart. Rove features double sided veneer. Both the outside and inside of the wood frame are fully veneered with imported wood veneers. A cushion-locking mechanism means that the chair has easily interchangeable parts. The way Rove cushions are secured to the veneer is engineered to match the original – to the extent you can actually swap cushions with an original Eames. A cheap version, on the other hand uses glue, Velcro, or nails to secure the cushion to the veneer. The inside veneer is never finished, which you can notice if you take a peek under the armrest.

JordanInsley RoveConcepts.backrest furniture 2

So to sum up, here’s what you will notice in a shoddy Eames reproduction:

  • Angle of the chair is far too upright and does not provide the flex while leaning back
  • Does not use the correct rubber shock mount underneath the armrest to create flex
  • Often made with half corrected grain leathers, which is hard, rough to the touch and unnatural feeling
  • The armrest is bulky and the armrest padding is hard and uncomfortable
  • Cushions are usually attached to the unfinished veneer with glue, Velcro or nails.  Request pictures of how the cushions are attached before purchasing from a cheap retailer.
  • Uses cheap foams that flatten with everyday wear, making them uncomfortable and unattractive
  • Lack of joint flex and incorrect rubber shock mounts sacrifices cost for comfort, most cheaper companies will not even have a rubber shock mount.
  • Without any protective coating on the wood shell, colors will fade
  • Generally made with cheaper wood materials that crack or scratch easy

If you want to go for a quality design that closely mirrors the original, check out the Rove concepts reproduction and be wary of most others on the market.

Images via Rove Concepts;


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