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What we're reading: Core 77 on mutant Eames chair

August 18, 2009 |  1:02 pm

Picnik collage

That sound you just heard may be Charles and Ray Eames swiveling in their final resting places. Hats off to the generally knowledgeable industrial design website Core 77 for pointing out these grotesque versions of the classic Eames 670 lounger. According to an Aug. 17 post by Core Jr, these puffy pieces are sculptor Mark Wentzel's way of "alluding to topics of global obesity and consumption, and the potential cooperation among artists, designers, scientists and manufacturers to address such issues."  

Oh, so that explains it. Viewed from the front, the chairs do indeed take on the appearance of overstuffed body parts. I get it. But I reckon the imaginative yet ever-practical Mr. and Mrs. Eames, who introduced the classic chair in a 1956 NBC program (see the video after the jump), would have been amazed and amused to hear Wentzel's work being called "a fruitful overlap between art and design ... borrowed directly from the historical and cultural narrative of the Eames lounge ... evoking its particular typification of enduring, desirable and mass-produced products."

I'd call it an overly generous assessment of beautiful furniture gone horribly wrong for art's sake. What do you think?

Stick with the video, past the images of the Eames house in Pacific Palisades, to see the classic film that Charles and Ray made showing how the chair gets put together.

-- David A. Keeps

Photos: markwentzel.com

Video: NBC/YouTube