During the early 1940s Charles and Ray Eames developed a successful technique for moulding plywood into three-dimensional shapes, which led to the creation of a variety of furnishings and sculptures. The Plywood Elephant, in particular, has attained legendary status among collectors. Designed in 1945, this piece requires complex fabrication methods. Only two prototypes were produced, both of which were subsequently displayed in an exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Today only one known model remains in the possession of the Eames Family.

Charles and Ray Eames were fascinated by elephants. Many images of these gentle giants are found in Charles’ photographic documentations of Indian culture and the circus world. The Plywood Elephant was designed as a toy for children, but also as a striking sculptural object that makes a statement in any environment with its vigorous curves and delightful character. There is a playful charm in the way that the Eameses used juvenile motifs to create a vibrant, cheerful idiom that appeals to adults as well as children.

June 17, 2007 marks the 100th birthday of Charles Eames. To commemorate this occasion, Vitra is producing a limited Anniversary Edition of the Eames Plywood Elephant. Designed in 1945, this piece attained legendary status in spite of the fact that it never went into production.

The 2007 Anniversary Edition of the Eames Plywood Elephant is strictly limited world-wide to 1000 pieces in each of two versions, natural maple and red stained maple. The serial number of each Plywood Elephant is engraved on a small aluminium plaque.

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