Plycraft Lounge Chair vs Eames: Comparing Iconic Mid-Century Designs

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In the realm of modern design, few names carry as much weight as that of Charles and Ray Eames, the visionary duo whose work in furniture design has left an indelible mark on the field.

Yet, there’s another name that often enters the conversation: Plycraft. Known for producing replicas of iconic Eames designs, Plycraft represents a more accessible avenue for fans of mid-century modern style.

In this article, we will delve into Plycraft and Eames, exploring the history, design philosophies, and product quality of both entities.

Whether you are an ardent design enthusiast, a fan of mid-century modern aesthetics, or just curious about the difference between an original Eames and a Plycraft replica, we’ll cover the similarities and differences between these two iconic brands.

So, settle into your shell chair, and let’s embark on this journey of design discovery together.

The Origins of Plycraft and Eames

Brief History of Eames

Charles and Ray Eames were a husband-and-wife design team that played a major role in the development of modern furniture design in the United States. They are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design, and the photographic arts.

One of the most iconic pieces of furniture by the Eames duo is the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, which debuted in 1956. This elegant, comfortable, and enduring design has become a symbol of modern furniture design and remains popular even today. It was initially designed for the Herman Miller furniture company and was later produced in Europe under license by Vitra, a Swiss company.

Their extensive work, innovative ideas, and lasting impact on the world of design have solidified the Eames’ legacy as pioneering designers, making their original creations highly sought after by collectors to this day.

Related: Eames vs Stressless

Brief History of Plycraft

Plycraft was an American furniture manufacturer known for producing high-quality plywood chairs and modern home furnishings during the mid-20th century. Some of their most iconic pieces were heavily influenced by Charles and Ray Eames.

In particular, Plycraft successfully recreated the classic Eames lounge chair, among other designs, which became popular pieces in their own right.

Plycraft was so successful at emulating the design of the Eames lounge chair that many people would mistake it for the real thing. Although Plycraft eventually shifted its focus towards Eames-inspired designs, they also collaborated with renowned designer George Mulhauser for a line of original seating called “Mr. Chair.”

Design Differences

Materials and Construction

While both chairs are known for their use of plywood and genuine leather, there are subtle variances between them.

The Eames lounge chair is renowned for its meticulously crafted layers of molded plywood and high-quality genuine leather upholstery.

On the other hand, Plycraft’s chair, although still well-made and visually similar, may utilize plywood of slightly lesser quality or different wood veneers.

Both designs showcase impressive craftsmanship and the ability to provide great comfort and durability.


While both lounge chairs tend to look quite similar at first glance, subtle distinctions set them apart.

The Eames lounge chair features a precisely sculpted and curved plywood shell, giving it a sleek, iconic appearance. The upholstery is impeccably fitted to its form, highlighting the finessed design and attention to detail.

Conversely, the Plycraft chair offers a slightly different aesthetic. The lines of the plywood shell are not as seamlessly curved as the Eames chair, and the upholstery appears less tailored.

Occasionally, Plycraft chairs have a rocking feature, providing an additional level of comfort and versatility compared to the fixed position of Eames chairs.

Functional Features


Plycraft chairs, designed by George Muhlhouser, are known for their ability to rock and recline, giving you more sitting position options. This feature can help you find the perfect position for relaxing, reading, or even taking a short nap.

On the other hand, Eames chairs have a more static design with a single sitting position, but they do come with a larger ottoman for ultimate leg support. Eames chairs are very comfortable.


When investing in a piece of furniture, you want it to last for years to come. Both Plycraft and Eames chairs boast quality materials and craftsmanship.

Eames chairs use genuine leather and plywood and are known for their long-lasting properties. Plycraft chairs are made of similar materials but may not have the same attention to detail as Eames chairs.

Price and Market Appeal

Cost Comparison

Price is the undoubtedly the biggest difference between the two products. Vintage Plycraft chairs can be found at a lower price range compared to authentic Eames chairs.

However, keep in mind that these Plycraft chairs are out of production, so availability and condition might vary. On the other hand, new Eames chairs come at a higher price due to their premium quality and reputation.

For a more affordable option, you can explore Eames chair replicas, which are available at various price points depending on the materials and build quality.


The enduring appeal of both Plycraft and Eames chairs can be attributed to their iconic mid-century modern design. Eames chairs have a long history and are considered design classics, with an enduring following among design enthusiasts and collectors.

Plycraft chairs, while less famous compared to Eames, have also gained popularity in recent years thanks to their striking design and functionality. Both options can make a stylish and timeless statement in your home or office.


When it comes to reputation, Eames chairs maintain a higher status due to their authentic design, production quality, and brand prestige. Being produced by Herman Miller, an acclaimed furniture company, Eames chairs come with a certain assurance of quality and durability.

Meanwhile, Plycraft chairs, although considered knockoffs by some, have their own fan base who appreciate the unique designs introduced by George Muhlhouser.

However, Plycraft holds a slightly diminished reputation compared to Eames, given its origins as a company that produced knockoff designs.

At the end of the day though, both are great products and you should ultimately decide based on what you want and what you can afford. And if what you want goes against what the design snobs say? Don’t listen to them.

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