Where are Eames Chairs Made? An Expert's Guide

The Eames chair is one of the most iconic and recognizable pieces of furniture in history. It was first produced in 1946 by Evans Molded Plywood of Venice Beach, California, for the furniture company Herman Miller in Zeeland, Michigan. In 1947, Herman Miller moved the production of the chairs to Michigan, where it continues to this day. The first-generation arm housing was manufactured at the Zenith Plastics factory in Gardena, California.

Initially available in three colors, three more were added after the first print run. Each chair is handmade in Western Michigan and most of the options in stock are ready to be delivered to your doorstep in two to three weeks. The chairs used to be made with Brazilian rosewood, but as the company became aware of the dangers of logging in the rainforest, it began to use more sustainable woods grown mainly in the Midwest and the Southern United States, such as cherry, ash, walnut, white oak, maple and beech. Each of these woods has a different grain and tone.

The cushions are woven by hand with a huge needle, passing a thick thread through the buttons to wrinkle the skin and then smoothing the folds with the palm of the hand. The Herman Miller logo and Eames signature can be found on a small sticker on the bottom of each chair. The Eames fiberglass armchair is one of the most popular designs out there. Each armchair begins as a set of cases manufactured by a local producer, Davidson Plyforms, who specializes in molding plywood.

When ordering an Eames armchair for their showroom, one custom denim company requested the lightest leather possible for the upholstery so that the dye from their unwashed denim would be printed on the chairs when people sat in them. Travelers can find Eames seats at Grand Rapids airport, Herman Miller benches at Grand Rapids Art Museum and classic molded plastic chairs at Ferris Coffee and Nut. If you see a chair that you think is authentic at a price that's too good to be true, be sure to look for signs that confirm whether or not it's an original Eames chair.

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