The Eames Plywood Elephant was designed in 1945. Conceived both as a children's toy and as a decorative
interior object, the Plywood Elephant catches the eye with its cheerful curves and flowing shapes.
Within the context of Charles and Ray Eames' oeuvre,
the Plywood Elephant is not only representative of an
entire group of animals made out of moulded plywood,
including a horse, a bear and a seal, but is also related
to a wide variety of animal mask designs. These colourful
masks were used in photographic installations, exhibitions
and improvisational theatre.
In a similar way, many later designs by the Eameses, such
as the 'House of Cards' or the film essay 'Toccata for Toy
Trains', bear witness to the couple's passion for games
and toys. They were particularly fascinated by elephants,
and many images of these gentle giants are found in
Charles' photographic documentations of Indian culture
and the world of the circus.
The Plywood Elephant holds a prominent place among
the plywood pieces designed by the Eameses. In the
early 1940s Charles and Ray Eames successfully
developed an innovative method for moulding plywood
into three-dimensional shapes, which they used to
produce a wide range of furniture and sculptural objects.
Among the early plywood designs, the Elephant is one
of the most difficult to produce. Tight angles and
compound curves require a sophisticated mastery of
Designed at the same time as their children's furniture,
the Plywood Elephant can also be seen as a playful
counterpart to the leg splints developed by the Eameses
for military applications which were the very first
mass-produced objects made of three-dimensionally
Following the previous Anniversary Edition of the
Eames Lounge Chair in 2006, Vitra once again honours
Charles and Ray Eames with the Anniversary Edition
Vitra celebrates the 100th birthday of Charles Eames
with the first edition of the Eames Plywood Elephant.
This numbered edition is strictly limited to 1000 pieces
in each of two different finishes: natural maple or red
stained maple. These versions conform to the historic
The price of about 1000 makes the eames elephanat rather a toy for grown-ups, than for kids...