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DCW Side Chair

This is a Side Chair. It was designed by Charles Eames and Ray Kaiser Eames and manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company. It is dated 1946 and we acquired it in 1961. Its medium is molded and bent plywood, rubber. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Icon of modern design husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames wanted to create a single-shell, molded-plywood chair, for which no manufacturing system yet existed. In 1941, in their Los Angeles apartment, the Eameses developed a curing oven—using scrap woods and spare bicycle parts—that heated and pressurized thin layers of resin-soaked wood, which could be molded into shapes. They used the machine—dubbed Kazam!—to develop a leg splint and aircraft parts for the US Navy during World War II. They then applied this experience to postwar commercial furniture production. Scrapping the idea for a single-shell chair as impractical and expensive, the Eameses designed a line of molded-plywood furniture, including the DCW. The chair’s parts, back, seat, and legs are attached with rubber shock mounts via a special adhesive, so screws are not visible from the front, adding to its lightness and elegance. Producer Herman Miller eventually reduced the molding process to ten minutes, plus time for finishing work, helping to keep prices low and accessible to middle-class Americans in search of modern household furnishings.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Material Masters.

This object was donated by Unknown. It is credited Gift of Anonymous Donor.

  • Child's Chair (USA)
  • molded laminated plywood, red stain.
  • Gift of Mrs. Eric Larrabee.
  • 1991-144-1
  • Chair (USA)
  • slumped plate glass, metal, textile.
  • Museum purchase through gift of George R. Kravis II and from General....
  • 2013-1-1
  • Staircase Model (France)
  • planed, joined, and veneered pearwood, walnut.
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw.
  • 2007-45-21

Our curators have highlighted 4 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • ES 108 Sofa
  • aluminum, walnut, leather, epoxy, urethane foam, polyster fiber.
  • Gift of Herman Miller, Inc..
  • 1985-98-1

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 72.5 x 46 x 58 cm (28 9/16 x 18 1/8 x 22 13/16 in.)

Cite this object as

DCW Side Chair; Designed by Ray Kaiser Eames (American, 1912–1988), Charles Eames (American, 1907–1978); Manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company (United States); USA; molded and bent plywood, rubber; H x W x D: 72.5 x 46 x 58 cm (28 9/16 x 18 1/8 x 22 13/16 in.); Gift of Anonymous Donor; 1963-22-1

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=DCW Side Chair |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>