Eames-style Table

A great way to try cold-bending, learn a new band-saw trick and fire up the hand-held power planer.
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 42-48

From the February 2004 issue #139
Buy this issue now

Almost any discussion of the legendary furniture designs of Charles and Ray Eames begins with plywood that has been formed into seemingly impossible shapes.

During World War II, this husband-and-wife team worked for the U.S. Navy to shape plywood under heat and pressure in ways that had not been done before. Their goal was to make lightweight splints, stretchers and even a shell for an experimental glider. But what they ended up with was the technology to create one of the most memorable pieces of 20th-century furniture: the Eames molded-plywood chair.

To complement this celebrated chair, the couple designed a coffee table similar to the one shown here. The most notable difference is that the Eames table has a top with a shallow depression in the middle that is molded from five wooden layers, also known as plies. Our top is made using solid wood and is flat. (To see a photo of the original table, which is still manufactured today, visit Herman Miller’s web site, hermanmiller.com.)

From the February 2004 issue #139
Buy this issue now