Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum


Ray (1912-1988) and Charles (1907-1978) Eames shaped 20th century design with their innovative furniture designs. The decisive factor for this was a high level of experimentation in the use of new materials. Their leg splints illustrate this clearly. Their production posed a technological challenge and required a high degree of new knowledge in the handling of plywood. The Eames had successfully presented a chair made of moulded plywood as part of the "Organic Design Home Furnishing" competition in New York, together with Eero Saarinen, as early as 1940. The splint commissioned by the military allowed for the professional expansion of experiments that began with this furniture. It offered a number of advantages over metal splints: not only was wood more readily available during the war years, it was also easy to clean, offered greater comfort and was transportable and storable. The material recesses also offered an effective way of stabilising the injured leg with bandages, but also facilitated air circulation. The splint, which can be used for both the left and right leg, was also aesthetically pleasing with its intricate form. It would have been inconceivable for Ray and Charles Eames to launch a plywood furniture series on the market in 1946, which is still successful today, without its development. It represents a milestone in US design history.