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Ottoman Benches

An ottoman is a low upholstered seat or footstool, without a back or arms that typically also serves as a box, with a seat hinged to form a lid. Its origin is early 19th century, from the French word ottomane.

One of the most famous examples from the modernist period is the Barcelona Ottoman designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. and Lilly Reich in 1928 for the German Pavilion building at the Barcelona World Fair, 1929. Though a design classic, it does not tick all the boxes that ottomans traditionally include - as it does not include a storage area.

Designers Charles and Ray Eames designed the famous Eames lounge chair and ottoman. Now a famous staple in numerous company directors' offices, the Eames chair and ottoman is composed of several plywood shells made with several thin layers of wood veneer glued together and shaped under heat and pressure.

Charles Eames (1907-1978) and Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser Eames(1912-1988) were a husband and wife team who worked together since their marriage in 1941.

The chair has very elegant proportions and has been in continuous production by the Herman Miller furniture company ever since its release in 1956. Immediately following its release other furniture companies began to copy the chair's design.

Contemporary examples of Ottomans exists a hundred-fold, though currently a Norwegian company - Ekornes - manufacturer some of the most popular ottoman models available. Jens Ekornes founded the company in 1934 as a furniture spring manufacturer, and it wasn't until 1966 when Ekornes launched its first collection of lounge furniture. Ekornes' Stressless chairs were launched in 1971 and has seen tremendous growth in popularity ever since.


Recommended Reading

The Barcelona Chair
A detailed history of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. and Lilly Reich's famous chair and ottoman.

Eames Office
Information about Charles & Ray Eames

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uk modern furniture

Recommended Reading | Articles | Design Ideas | Soft Furnishing | News | Resources