It started with a kazam.


The above chair – recently introduced in a lightly padded, upholstered version – would likely not exist if it wasn’t for Charles and Ray Eames’ flagrant disregard for landlords. The famous LCW was an eventual evolution of experiments the couple did in their first apartment as newlyweds. Their first place (which happened to be designed to Richard Neutra) was on Strathmore Avenue in Westwood, a suburb of Los Angeles. They took the liberty of turning it into a workshop.


The workshop apartment contained the above contraption – called the Kazam Machine because it functioned like pure magic. The would feed plywood and glue in one end and it would come out molded in the desired shape (that’s a very rough approximation of the process, by the way). They first applied this magic to the creation of a plywood leg splint, which was purchased by the U.S. Navy. Eventually, the couple was able to move into a dedicated studio where they tested and refined the groundbreaking designs of the Molded Plywood Lounge Chair and Dining Chair, as well as their iconic Eames Lounge and Ottoman. I love this photo because it shows how even sleek, minimal classic modern design emerged out of a very messy and dynamic creative process.

I didn’t make this story up, I got it from the Design Museum, here. Also, to see the abovementioned products (which happen to be on sale until December 10), click here.