As one of the world’s most iconic chairs, it probably comes as no surprise that the Eames Lounge Chair is the victim of untold inferior copies. In fact, fake Eames Loungers sit unknowingly, or knowingly, in peoples’ homes across the globe.
Maybe you’re looking to buy a vintage Eames Lounge Chair online. Or perhaps you’ve seen a new one in a shop but aren’t convinced it’s authentic. It’s completely understandable that you want to make sure it’s authentic before splashing out on it.
To help you decide, we’ve compiled some of the ways you can tell a real Eames Lounger from a fake. These sure-fire ways to spot a fake Eames Lounge Chair should help you make this important decision. Read on to find out.
The size of an original Eames Lounge Chair
Aside from a taller version introduced in 2010, the Eames Lounge Chair hasn’t changed sizes since it was designed in 1956. That means you can tell an original Eames Chair from its size. Fake Eames Lounge Chairs tend to have completely wrong proportions. So, if the size is off, then the odds are that it’s a knock off.
If you’re buying an Eames Lounger from a second hand or vintage shop, then get your tape measure out. A classic Eames Lounge Chair measures 84cm tall, 84cm wide and 91cm deep with a seat height of 38cm. A tall Eames Lounge Chair is 89cm tall, 84cm wide and 92cm deep with a seat height of 38cm.
Labels on an authentic Eames Lounge Chair
Whether your Eames Chair is vintage or brand spanking new, it should have a label to prove its authenticity. When looking for a label on an Eames Chair, we tend to start with the base. It will normally be at the point where the base connects with the chair’s shell. If it isn’t there, then try sliding off the chair’s cushions and you may find a label underneath.
Once you find it, a label should have one of two names, Hermann Miller or Vitra. To European and Middle Eastern audiences, Vitra is renowned for making Eames furniture. If you’re buying the chair here, then that’s what you should expect to see a Vitra label. However, Hermann Miller was the original manufacturer of the Eames Lounge Chair in the USA and even commissioned it in the first place. Of course, some Vitra loungers will have made their way across the Atlantic and vice versa. So, don’t be surprised if it has a Hermann Miller label attached to it. Whether it’s a Hermann Miller or a Vitra tag, either tag should guarantee its authenticity.
Both brands have gone through a wide range of labels since the chair was first produced. That means there are many different labels that could be on your chair. It could be a small metal plaque, a sticker with Charles Eames’ signature or a roundel.
If you can’t find a label on your Eames Lounger, then don’t despair. If the chair’s old and the right size, with all the quality fixtures and features then it’s probably just missing a label.
How much does an Eames Lounge Chair move?
An authentic Eames Lounge Chair should swivel 360° in a fluid motion. That is, the shell swivels on the base itself. If the base has wheels or castors, then it won’t be an original.
Many people think that this type of chair is a recliner, but it isn’t. Yes, an Eames Lounger will tilt slightly when you lean back on it, but it’s no reclining chair. So, if the chair in question reclines far back or has mechanisms to help it recline, then it isn’t an original.
An Eames Lounger’s premium finish
Always remember the prestige reputation manufacturers like Hermann Miller and Vitra have. Not to mention the exacting standards of Charles Eames himself. That means original Eames Chairs are always finished to the highest possible standard.
All authentic Eames Lounge Chairs are made up of three wooden shells. That’s one for the seat, one for the back and one for the headrest. Then there are two shells that make up the armrests. The shells all appear as though floating with no visible screw or bolts. The only place you may spot a screw is on the armrests and original ones will be black. Effort has been made to ensure the design is structurally sound whilst concealing the screws. So, if screws stick out like sore thumbs, it won’t be an original.
The base of an Eames Lounge Chair
The chair’s base is also a tell-tale sign. It should have five legs and be made using die cast aluminium. Since they’re made using this technique, the base should be one solid piece of aluminium, rather than having individual legs screwed together. Each leg will have a slight angle and taper off into a rounded end, rather than a squared end. The base isn’t always the same finish, in fact, expect to see it polished, chromed or matte black.
So, if there’s less than five legs and steep angles on the base, you’re probably looking at a fake.
How much does an Eames Lounge Chair cost?
The price of an Eames Lounge Chair differs depending on the leather and wood finishes that you choose. But needless to say, the price tag that comes with them reflects the work that goes into making them perfect. That isn’t to say it’s a walk in the park to create a replica. The many elements of an Eames Lounger’s design means that a new replica could still cost upwards of £1,000. However, a used replica will set you back a few hundred pounds. So, if the price is substantially lower than those advertised by Vitra or Hermann Miller then it’s likely a fake.
Interested in buying an original? See our authentic Eames Lounge Chairs here.