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DSW Chair


Charles and Ray Eames

DSW Chair


Charles and Ray Eames
Eames DSW Chair Front View On A White Background
If there is a chair that can be said to be the archetype of most modern dining chairs, it is the Eames series of shell chairs. In 1948, following the Second World War, there was a growing need for low-cost, mass produced furniture. Charles and Ray Eames understood industrial processes better than most. The combination of their dedication, hard won knowledge and prolific design skills resulted in this perennially successful range of chairs. Originally presented in stamped metal, and later produced in fiberglass, before finding its ultimate expression in durable polypropylene, the winning elements of this deceitfully simple design remain its extreme adaptability and customisability. The name, DSW, is a description of the chair itself, and stands for “Dining height, Side chair, Wood Base (or legs)” An unprecedented chair for its time, by virtue of the use of innovative materials in different combinations, and still highly revered and desired for its versatility, the Eames chairs are timeless icons of functional minimalism. Equally at home in a stadium as in a luxury hotel foyer or cosy home dining room, they are also easily cleaned and extraordinarily durable. Dare we say, a perfect chair?

“Recognising the need is the primary condition for the design.”

Charles Eames
Eames DSW Chair Front View On A White Background

The first incarnation of this chair was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art’s “International Competition for Low-cost Furniture Design” of 1948 and was awarded second place.  

The all-in-one ‘shell’ seat design was a first in history. The inspiration behind the chair was to create a product made from unusual, affordable materials with multiple uses and the Eameses had been working on the concept since the late 1930s. The chairs have been in mass production since 1950. 

The DSW comes with a wooden dowel base with metal strut supports. It is part of an enormous collection of different configurations of Eames dining chairs. There are variations of the chair in molded wood, fiberglass and even wire, upholstered, cushioned or “as is”, and with a metal, wood, rocker or office chair base. 

In 1973 the Museum of Modern Art in New York displayed the DSW chair in the Charles Eames: furniture from the design collection and is still featured there today. 

Charles and Ray Eames received a medal on the 21 June 1951 from the First National Industrial Designers Institute Award for the design of the DSW plastic chair. 

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Simple Comfort

Polypropylene plastic is ergonomically molded to comfortably accommodate the individual in the seat with added back support. The plastic is not all rigid and if the individual leans back it will give way and restore to its original form. The clean lines of the shell sit atop beautiful wooden legs with metal strut supports.

Quality and Craftsmanship
The DSW chair is unique in its balance of comfort and sleek style. On the base, sturdy ashwood or maple legs are set in place with durable steel supports crossing over. The chair’s plastic isn’t perfectly smooth. Polypropylene moulds slightly textured, making for a beautiful matte look and feel. Polypropylene is 100% recyclable.
Charles and Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames are counted among the most important figures of twentieth-century design. After their marriage in 1941, they moved to Los Angeles, where together they began experimenting with techniques for the three-dimensional moulding of plywood. The aim was to create comfortable chairs and they believed strongly that good design should be affordable to all. They were forerunners in working with plywood, fibreglass and plastic. Their work spans the fields of furniture design, filmmaking, photography and exhibition design.
“Ideas are cheap. Always be passionate about ideas and communicating those ideas and discoveries to others in the things you make.”
Charles Eames
Product Literature
The Eames’ recognized and fully exploited the advantages of the polypropylene plastic: mouldability, rigidity, pleasant tactile qualities, suitability for industrial manufacturing methods. With this material, which was previously unknown in the furniture industry, they successfully developed the shell designs for serial production. Each chair is perfectly molded with a slightly textured finish. The shells are placed on the four ash wood legs, stabilized and strengthened with cross struts.
Product Materials

Shell: Died-through polypropylene 

Base: Ashwood or maple 

Base supports: Round steel, black 

Product Dimensions

Height: 83cm 

Depth: 47cm 

Width: 47cm 

Seat height: 43cm 

Carrying weight: 130kg  

Weight as shipped: 9kg 

Care Instructions

Polypropylene: Polypropylene is a hardwearing, uniformly shaped and coloured material. Special additives add colour fastness. However, exposed sunlight exposure should be limited to retain the original colour. Polypropylene can be cleaned using a mild detergent or a glass cleaner with a soft cloth. Do not use hard woven cloths or abrasive cleaning agents. 

Wood: Wipe dry with a dry, soft cloth in the direction  of the wood grain.  Clean the surface  periodically  with a soft cloth dampened with a quality cleaner formulated for wood furniture.  Liquid spills should be immediately dabbed dry and wiped off. Make sure that your  wood furniture is not positioned close to heat sources, so that it does not dry out and become brittle.  We recommend that  wood products should  not  be  exposed to intense sunlight  for prolonged periods of time as  ultra-violet rays may eventually damage the finish.  

Do not use an abrasive material on the  wood.   

Metal: Do not use an abrasive material on the metal. Clean the item with a mild detergent and water. You can dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in the solution or a non-abrasive pad and use it to scrub off any residue or dirt on the item. Dry any residual moisture with a soft, dry cloth.

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