The Unique Origin of the Vitra Eames House Bird


The Vitra House Bird is among the most recognized Eames icons, though it actually wasn’t designed by the duo.


Charles and Ray Eames took great pride in the interior of the Eames House, and brought back numerous pieces from their travels that spoke to their design aesthetic. One of the most prized of these objects was the figure of a black wooden bird from the Appalachian mountains. It originated from husband and wife team Charles and Edna Perdew, who passed on their gun repair business to their son and began carving and painting bird decoys from hunters. The simple black bird that would later become famous was crafted around 1910, but caught the attention of midcentury audiences for it’s striking shape and minimalism.


One of the Eames Wire Chair commercial photos that sparked interest in the bird.


The wooden bird became a focal point in the Eames House living room, where it incidentally was included in a number of photographs and Eames chair adverts. It wasn’t long before modern design enthusiasts started inquire about the dark, commanding piece. In cooperation with the Eames, Vitra responded to the popular demand by 3-D scanning the original to reissue this solid alder wood version with black lacquer and steel wire legs. The figure of a black bird is simplistic in shape but commanding in presence, sure to catch the eye of onlookers at it did in the 1950’s at the famed Eames House. Get your very own Vitra Eames House Bird.

View more ways to style the Vitra Eames House Bird in the slideshow below.

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