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Upholstering an Eames lounge chair in tweed

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by mafoofan, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

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    In this particular case, I don't see any basis to cultivate a purist "black leather only" mantra. I don't think it's true anyway, as early versions were made with Herman Miller's premium tan hides.
     
  2. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

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    All the moulded plywood stuff was started and their joint venture during the war...long after they were married (how cool is it to have your wedding ring made by Harry Bertoia).

    Previous to their marriage, he was a traditional modernist influenced by Mies, Gropius, Corbusier. They first started working together on the MOMA project in 1940, along with Bertoia and Saarinen. She was the painter/sculptor type. It was only after they married that they became the bohemian types...so maybe she was actually the main driving force behind their scultural style?
     
  3. CTGuy

    CTGuy Well-Known Member

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    Those plycraft chairs are really cool. How difficult would it be to get someone to reupholster an older one? I mean-- ballpark how much might something like that cost?

    I think Mafoofan's tweed idea is pretty interesting. I get what GDL says about the leather, but maybe a fabric upholstery would work alright.
     
  4. Luc-Emmanuel

    Luc-Emmanuel Well-Known Member

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    They, no?
    yes, my mistake.

    !luc
     
  5. Luc-Emmanuel

    Luc-Emmanuel Well-Known Member

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    In this particular case, I don't see any basis to cultivate a purist "black leather only" mantra. I don't think it's true anyway, as early versions were made with Herman Miller's premium tan hides.
    Either you stick with what the designer envisioned his design to look like, or you don't. Of course, in the end it doesn't really matter if for mercantilistic reasons, your piece is produced in several colours.

    !luc
     
  6. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

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    Well, that is exactly what I'm questioning. What makes you think there was a original "pure" design in the first place? To suggest such things, is to pretty much contradict the entire Eames philosophy in design.

    This chair is derivative of many prototypes before it, and was changed by the Eames Office even after production started...they dropped the rosewood, they dropped the glove leather and they dropped the down filling. To suggest an idea of the only "proper" colour being black seems absurd.

    I'll quote Eames Demetrios, Director of the Eames Office himself...

    And Charles and Ray did not work alone...many talented designers played more than a small part in their designs. Don Albinson probably deserves as much credit for this chair as anybody.
     
  7. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Well-Known Member

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    I believe Hugh Laurie in House has one in corduroy
     
  8. robin

    robin Well-Known Member

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    Corduroy actually sounds very nice - I couldn't imagine that it would last very long though.
     
  9. Luc-Emmanuel

    Luc-Emmanuel Well-Known Member

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    Well, that is exactly what I'm questioning. What makes you think there was a original "pure" design in the first place? To suggest such things, is to pretty much contradict the entire Eames philosophy in design.

    This chair is derivative of many prototypes before it, and was changed by the Eames Office even after production started...they dropped the rosewood, they dropped the glove leather and they dropped the down filling. To suggest an idea of the only "proper" colour being black seems absurd.

    you are talking about manufacturing process, which I'm sure the Eames were always trying to improve. I'm talking about the leather colour, a purely aesthetic choice. I read it somewhere, and maybe if I have enough time, I'll try to collect the evidences from the public library next saturday.

    I'll quote Eames Demetrios, Director of the Eames Office himself...

    Yes, well I don't know if I trust someone so eager to cash up on the royalties of his grandfather's work.

    !luc
     
  10. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    Corduroy actually sounds very nice - I couldn't imagine that it would last very long though.
    There are new corduroys made of very durable fabrics other than cotton. It's definitely an option. You'd be amazed at some of the upholstery fabrics now that look delicate but can withstand 20k "double rubs" or whatever. My only issue with corduroy is the nap - I don't like fabrics that have a nap aside from mohair velvet which is springy enough not to leave marks. Especially awful are those microfiber fake suedes that leave hand prints all over them. Maybe mohair corduroy? Nice thing about the Eames design is that it needs much less fabric than a fully upholstered chair (4 yards for the chair and 1 for the ottoman), and actually aside from the welt (which one could skip) it's a pretty easy design to reupholster - you just pull the fabric around the back of the shells and staple it. This site lists the labor charge for the chair at $425 in the Boston area, but if you go out of the major cities it gets much cheaper.
     
  11. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    Those plycraft chairs are really cool. How difficult would it be to get someone to reupholster an older one? I mean-- ballpark how much might something like that cost?
    I'd expect 4-600 for the labor depending on where you go and who you know, and then the sky's the limit for the fabric, but you only need 5 yards for the chair and ottoman, so you could kind of go nuts with that. Decent fabrics can be had for pretty cheap (under $30/yd) if you can find a remnant (and 5 yards is not much, so there are more options) but based on what I was looking at recently, I'd expect somewhere from $50-90 a yard to have a really good range of options. But that's still not much money compared to the value of the finished chair. The really nice thing about getting a used one and reupholstering it is that you can make changes to the padding - for example, you might add a top layer of down over all the cushions (which can be DIY'd cheaply by double-stitching the shapes into a down comforter and then cutting around the stitching) and a thin layer of higher density foam at the bottom of the seat cushion, etc.
     
  12. CTGuy

    CTGuy Well-Known Member

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    There are new corduroys made of very durable fabrics other than cotton. It's definitely an option. You'd be amazed at some of the upholstery fabrics now that look delicate but can withstand 20k "double rubs" or whatever.

    My only issue with corduroy is the nap - I don't like fabrics that have a nap aside from mohair velvet which is springy enough not to leave marks. Especially awful are those microfiber fake suedes that leave hand prints all over them.

    Maybe mohair corduroy? Nice thing about the Eames design is that it needs much less fabric than a fully upholstered chair (4 yards for the chair and 1 for the ottoman), and actually aside from the welt (which one could skip) it's a pretty easy design to reupholster - you just pull the fabric around the back of the shells and staple it. This site lists the labor charge for the chair at $425 in the Boston area, but if you go out of the major cities it gets much cheaper.


    Thanks dude-- very good info.
     
  13. j

    j Well-Known Member

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  14. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

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    I suppose you're right...I'm much better off trusting unsubstantiated claims and accusations by anonymous message board members.

    Slow down...I can't shovel that fast.
     
  15. Concordia

    Concordia Well-Known Member

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    I had one of those chairs (leather) in my room when I was a kid and I remember a huge "whoosh" of air when I got out of it. Tweed might dampen that a bit.
     
  16. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    I had one of those chairs (leather) in my room when I was a kid and I remember a huge "whoosh" of air when I got out of it. Tweed might dampen that a bit.
    Yeah, there is a woosh when you sit down and a pheeeeeewww when you get up. All the air has to escape via the holes in the bottom of the cushion shell or the button holes. The tweed would be a bit quieter, but I think the whoosh is actually kind of a subconsciously(?) relaxing sound, as if when you finally get to sink into it at the end of the day, your cares might be exhausted out with that air.
     
  17. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

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    Yea...sure. Lots of patterns would look great. A small patterned David Hicks fabric would be a little out of the box, yet trendy, while maintaining a bit of period authenticity. A Pucci print would definitely make a statement.

    I think African mud cloth would be perfect with that chair...but far too delicate to be practical.

    Without giving it too much thought, my personal choice would be hair-on gazelle. The hair is actually very smooth and silky, and the various shades of brown with pure white highlights would blend so nicely with the veneer of the chair. And the hides aren't overly expensive either.
     
  18. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    Zebra skin might add an exotic touch, but personally, I think giraffe hide suits the design better.
     
  19. Sprezzatura2010

    Sprezzatura2010 Well-Known Member

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    You know, I can actually imagine that. But for what it's worth, if I don't get the tweed, I think I'll stick to a dark green pebble grain leather.
    Rosewood and a British Racing Green pebblegrain leather sounds like a very winning combination to me. When I get mine, I might just steal your idea!
    ^^^ I would want a traditional-looking tweed that's less bold. But yes, that's the idea. I think a black and white glen plaid could look really nice.
    That sounds nice, too.
    Eames (alive) never allowed anything but black leather on his lounge chair, I think he was right.
    I don't know. I don't like black leather generally. And one man's "iconic" is another's "cliche." The best looking Eames lounges I've seen have had cognac or creme leather.
     
  20. shoreman1782

    shoreman1782 Well-Known Member

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    Any of you guys ever do this? Got a line on a cheap plycraft lounger and considering what the cost of upholstery would be in, I dunno, boucle wool blend or leather.
     

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