No reading nook, library or lounge is complete without appropriate task lighting and a comfortable chair. When reading in your Eames style chair and ottoman, consider a vintage lamp that adds mid-century modern flair. Draw inspiration from the poppy colors, brass hardware and sleek silhouettes beloved by Charles and Ray Eames. From a Grasshopper Lamp to a Sputnik Chandelier resembling Eames' Galaxy Light, here are ten lamps for reading in your Eames style lounge chair.
Photo attributed to Valis55 and author Shane Vaughn.
Charles Eames is better known for furniture than light fixtures, yet one of his earliest and most significant projects involved lighting design. Eames' work at St. Mary's Church in Arkansas helped launch his remarkable career in architecture and design.
Shortly after completing the design for St. Mary's in Helena, Eames was offered a second project in nearby Paragould. Eames and Walsh's work also impressed John and Alice Meyer, who commissioned the pair to design their home in Missouri.
According to this resource from the Eames Institute, "Charles got the job in part because he offered to design and oversee [the entire project]." Alongside partner Robert P. Walsh, he either created or procured everything "from the floor coverings to the vestments worn by the priests."
Eames was also responsible for designing a new lighting program. This post from Alcon Lighting's Insights blog notes that Eames designed a group of globular pendant lights for the church. One half of each globe was of brass -- representing the night -- while the other was a frosted white glass -- representing the day.
According to the Alcon post, the lighting program was designed with communion in mind. It was "meant to inculcate in each parishioner the sense of emerging from darkness and proceeding toward enlightenment as one walks toward the altar." Despite a tight Depression-era budget, Eames created a space that attracted respected Finnish-American architect Eliel Saarinen.
As the Alcon post notes, "Saarinen offered Eames a fellowship to study architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art." Saarinen encouraged Eames to follow his own path rather than conforming to conventions of architecture and design. Charles Eames would later work alongside Eliel's son Eero, who he met at the Cranbrook Academy. Eames also met his wife and design partner Ray Kaiser Eames at the Academy.
Created by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller Furniture Company in 1956, the original Eames lounger remains a symbol of Mid-Century Modern design. Of all the chairs and other furniture they created, the Eames lounge chair and ottoman was one of the couple's most significant designs.
This iconic chair was originally crafted from molded plywood, walnut or rosewood wood veneer, aluminum and black Italian leather. Each Eames lounge chair boasted tufted backrests -- which make the chair feel like a baseman's mitt -- and rubber shock mounts -- which afford the user flexibility. Today, both original Eames loungers and Eames chair replicas are available in a variety of wood veneers and upholstery materials.
Few chair styles are as beloved and enduring as the sleek yet comfortable Eames lounge chair. As such, one must choose a table, floor or task lamp just as iconic when reading, working or lounging in an Eames. Enjoy our picks below!
Designed by Swedish-American architect Greta Magnusson Grossman in the late 1940s, the Grasshopper Lamp is perfect for mid-century modern interiors. Her work as an architect was revered by wealthy patrons and critics throughout the mid 20th century.
However, it is Grossman's lamp design for which most 21st century Americans know the architect. As Dora Vanette writes in an article for Dwell, the Grasshopper or Gräshoppa floor lamp is "undoubtedly Grossman's most famous design." Like Charles Eames, Grossman was "greatly influenced by functionalism." She chose industrial materials like steel and aluminum for the Grasshopper lamp.
According to Vanette, the "Grasshopper is both sophisticated and unobtrusive." These qualities allow the Grasshopper "to work well on its own and when paired with other designs." Its slender silhouette, angular body and smooth shade makes the Grasshopper a welcome addition for both mid-century modern and contemporary interiors. In many ways, its appeal is as timeless as that of the Eames lounger.
The chair was originally manufactured by Ralph O. Smith, but it fell out of production a few years later. About a decade ago, postmodern Danish furniture design house Gubi reissued several Grossman pieces -- including the iconic Gräshoppa Floor Lamp. Shoppers can still find the Gräshoppa Floor Lamp for sale online through retailers like Design Within Reach and Danish Design Store.
We love how @antoniocarusone styled a classic black Gräshoppa with a sleek wood and black leather chair. Of course, the Gräshoppa also pairs perfectly with a black leather and palisander Eames chair replica like this piece from The Iconic Chair.
A cousin of Poul Henningsen's PH Artichoke Pendant Light, the PH5 lamp is sleeker and more architectural. With three shades of slightly different silhouettes, this multi-colored pendant light was originally designed in 1958. Though first released almost sixty-five years ago by Louis Poulsen, Henningsen's PH5 remains one of the most popular mid-century lighting designs.
Henningsen's PH5 was uniquely effective at providing layered lighting with a single fixture. As James Wormald writes in an article for Architonic, "PH5 provides glare-free downlight as well as diffused lateral light to effectively illuminate itself." Its beauty and functionality has made the PH5 both a stalwart of interior design, and an ideal companion to the Eames lounger.
Consider hanging a miniature Orange Hue PH 5 pendant light from Lumens above your white leather and white oak veneer Eames style lounger. The retro color palette is fresh enough to work in contemporary interiors too.
Which light fixture would be better suited to an Eames lounge chair than one owned by Charles Eames himself? George Nelson created his own twist on a high-end Swedish design.
He was moved to make a cheaper version after falling in love with an expensive silk pendant light he could not afford. His version -- the Nelson Saucer Bubble Pendant Light -- was sheathed in a far more affordable alternative to natural silk.
According to Hannah Martin in an article for Architectural Digest, Charles and Ray Eames purchased one of Nelson's plastic lamps. They hung his saucer lamp in their living room. Soon after, "modern America followed suit" and the rest is history!
Several decades later, Herman Miller Furniture Company purchased rights to the light fixture and upped the price. Shoppers can still find the pendant online and in stores.
We love how @panelland tree styled their pendant light. Surrounded by a leafy houseplant, exposed beams and a stone fireplace, their Nelson Saucer is living in a mid-century modern dream.
Next on our list is an AJ Floor Lamp, which was designed by Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen in 1958. In an article for Dwell, Samantha Daly writes that the lamp was originally created "the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark."
Describing the lamp as a "sleek, understated design," Daly notes that the AJ works in any size or style of interior. We suggest pairing a dark gray AJ Floor Lamp with a Black Leather and Walnut Veneer Eames Style Lounge Chair and Ottoman.
For avid readers, we suggest pairing a Rupert Nikoll floor lamp with your green leather and walnut veneer Eames style lounger. The Austrian-made floor lamp pictured above boasts a polished brass newspaper holder.
From the 1950s, this piece has a distinctly mid-century modern aesthetic that matches a classic Eames. Find the lamp online through 1stDibs here. Shop the olive leather and walnut Eames chair here through The Iconic Chair.
If your Eames style lounge chair sits in a den, study or living room, consider a statement chandelier or pendant light. Many assume that these starburst chandeliers were inspired by the Sputnik 1 spacecraft. The spacecraft launched in 1957 and was the first satellite to orbit Earth.
However, the first chandelier of this style was designed long before Sputnik broke the atmosphere. A pre-Atomic Age design, Gino Sarfatti's iconic chandelier was first ideated back in 1939.
The futuristic Sputnik chandelier posted above by @luigi_fragola_architects on Instagram would complement any Eames lounge chair. The brass hardware, black base and glass bulbs make the Sputnik chandelier pictured above perfect for an olive Eames style lounger like this one.
This list of vintage lamps would not be complete without a colorful piece that recalls the Eames' iconic residence in Pacific Palisades, California. The blue enameled table lamp pictured above is attributed to Finnish Modernist designer Paavo Tynell.
We think it recalls the De Stijl-inspired facade of Case Study House No. 8, which was designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1949. Pair this 1stDibs find with a black leather and palisander Eames lounger like the one found in Case Study House No. 8.
For those who appreciate craftsmanship, classic design and quality materials, we suggest a 1950s floor lamp from Arredoluce Monza. Made in Italy from etched glass, polished bronze and white marble, the slender floor lamp pictured above makes a subtle statement.
Pair this Arredoluce lamp from 1stDibs with a taupe leather and palisander Eames style lounge chair from The Iconic Chair. Shop the chair here.
Mushroom lamps have graced stylish interiors for many decades, but were especially common throughout the mid 20th century. As Jessica Bennett writes in an article for Yahoo! Life, mushroom lamps were "covered...in the May 1972 issue of Better Homes & Gardens."
Popularized in the 1950s by Italian homeware, graphic and industrial designer Massimo Vignelli, these table lamps were crafted from brass, steel and blown glass. Some were squat and round while others -- like the piece pictured above -- were slender and elegant. All were charming.
Consider pairing a minimalistic brass mushroom lamp like the one posted by @creativefeminity with a white leather and white oak Eames style lounge chair.
Last but not least is a special table lamp that filters light in an unusual way. With tiny holes across its domed shade and a braided brass base, the Lightolier table lamp pictured above reminds us of another important piece.
We chose the 1955 Lightolier table lamp for its conceptual and stylistic similarity to the pendant lights in St. Mary's church. Pair this stunning celestial-inspired mid-century lamp with a classic black leather and palisander or walnut Eames chair.
If an authentic Eames lounge chair is outside your price range, shop a high-quality Eames chair replica online through The Iconic Chair. An authentic Eames chair can sell for upwards of $8,000 USD. Our replica lounge chair and ottoman is based on the original design, but costs far less.
Enjoy the classic design, quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship of an Eames Office lounge chair and ottoman without blowing your budget. Available in a standard or tall size, each Eames chair replica sold by The Iconic Chair looks and feels just like the real thing.