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I’ve got a soft, gooey spot for vintage designer chairs. Mostly, just for looking at them though, thinking, “That looks like a chair I could sit in with a pipe, a tumbler of scotch and an expensive looking mustache.” The Eames chair is exactly one of those types of chairs. It’s manufactured at the Herman Miller factory in Zeeland, Michigan and after all these years, much of the process relies on the hands of the dedicated employees.

Making a Chair

Cliff Kuang writes in Fast Co.Design about the handmade process of the Eames chair, first explaining how, even though technology has improved the process, much remains the same as when the chair was first produced 65 years ago, then how…

“…all of the efficiency is still guided by humans simply because the materials are natural and don’t lend themselves to automation. Any given cowhide might stretch twice as much as the next one, simply due to natural variations. A seamstress has to adjust accordingly. The wood grains for an Eames lounge don’t automatically match up–a human has to be there to eye the various pieces and make sure they make sense when paired together.”

This video gives you a little idea of what goes into the process. Ready for that pipe and a scotch?

Source: Fast Co.Design


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.