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Really dissatisfied with new Eames Lounge Chair - other owners' experiences appreciated  

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JasonUSA
(@jasonusa)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 6
27/08/2019 8:10 pm  

Hi All,

I'm sure I'm in the same boat as most where I've lusted after a black Eames Lounge Chair for many a decade and, to my absolute delight, my wonderful wife surprised me with a brand new one complete with matching Ottoman for my 40th birthday 18 months ago.  I had never sat in one before and was extremely excited for it to arrive but, ever since it did, it's been incredibly disappointing.  I'm not looking for people to tell me how amazing their chairs are but really to let me know if yours share any of the below attributes or if I'm on my own here.  When I've reported these items to Hive Modern in the past they have said they're to be expected and the same was pretty much true of a conversation I had with Herman Miller this afternoon.  The thing is, when I detailed these attributes in a review on Hive Modern's website, the review wasn't published.  I find it interesting that they're OK to accept these items as attributes while not going so far as to include a review that called these out.

So here they are, I guess in some order of grievance:

  1. The chair "clunks" about the swivel.  This is a little difficult to describe but, out of the box, the chair swiveled only as one would expect; there was no movement front to back or side to side - perfect.  After a couple of months my first chair started "clunking" when I leaned forwards to egress.  If I stood behind the chair and applied pressure forwards, there would be a noticeable shift forwards with a "clunk".  Same thing side to side.  Hive Modern replaced the chair & ottoman for me.  A couple of months after receiving the replacement it exhibited the same thing.  When I reported it to Hive Modern the second time I was advised that 2 chairs in their offices do the same, one to a greater degree than the other, and that Herman Miller had described this as normal.

    Other Lounge Chair owners: is this normal?  Do your chairs do this as well?  If so, are you OK with this?  I don't think a piece of furniture should exhibit an attribute such as this 2 months out of the box; if this is normal I believe it should do this from day 1.

  2. We specified the MCL leather upgrade based on the description this was the closest modern day equivalent to the leather of the 1960s originals.  My second grievance is that it has zero leather odor, not even the faintest of whiffs.  In all honesty it may as well be PVC.  Does anybody else have the MCL leather?  Does yours have any leather odor?  Does anybody have the base leather and does that have any leather smell?  I really expected this piece to fill the room with the most delightful fug de bovine but no.
  3. One of the button holes in the seat cushion has stretched exposing the white foam within and showing that the leather is exceptionally thin.  I would imagine that the leather of anyone's chair fitted with MCL will be the same so I guess my question here is to those folks that have the regular Herman Miller leather: does yours feel pretty robust like one would expect the seat cushion of a $6.5k chair to feel?
  4. I have the tall version of the chair.  I am 6' and 170 lb.  When I sit in the chair I can feel the wood underneath the seat base cushion.  I was told by Herman Miller this morning that this is because I have the, more expensive, MCL leather.  MCL leather & non-MCL leather owners: how heavy are you and can you feel the wooden base when you sit in the chair?

I'm sure anybody reading this can tell I'm wholly dissatisfied with this chair and I'm wondering: is it me?  Am I being overly picky?  Am I expecting too much out of a $6,495 chair?  Or should I just shut up and convince myself it's awesome because...well, it's an Eame's Lounge Chair?  Honestly I wouldn't want to own a single LazyBoy chair but I figure at this point in time it's possible I'd be more satisfied having a room full of those than a single one of these; at least I'd feel like I was getting value for money and I know I wouldn't be able to feel a piece of chipboard below my posterior.

Thank you to all for any enlightenment.

Jason.

This topic was modified 3 years ago by JasonUSA

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tktoo2
(@tktoo2)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 630
29/08/2019 3:51 pm  

Demand a full refund and buy another chair that you've actually sat upon and found to your liking.


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JasonUSA
(@jasonusa)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 6
29/08/2019 7:08 pm  

tktoo2,

Thank you very much for getting back to me.  That's kind of what I want but, before I start demanding things, I was hoping to determine from others if these "attributes" are unique to my chair (chairs [pl.] really because, as far as the clunking is concerned, that's affected 2 chairs) or common to all.  If everybody's chair exhibits this same behavior then I'll put it down to my being too picky and will try to lower my expectations.  But if it transpires that nobody else's does this, even after 2 years of everyday use, then I'll proceed towards making demands.

As part of my discussion with Herman Miller I had to send them a photograph of the label under the seat base.  I found myself apologizing to them for this being torn when it actually left the factory like this.  If the factory doesn't have enough care about attention to detail to reprint a label they tore then what hope do I have that they concern themselves with the quality of any other component of the chair.

I've attached a pic of my label and the view of the foam through the stretched button hole for people's viewing pleasure.  Sadly the video I recorded of the clunking is > 60MB so not possible to post here.  Maybe I'll upload to YouTube and share the link.

Thanks again for your reply.  Look forward to hearing from anybody else.

Jason.

1567098519-Label.jpg

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JasonUSA
(@jasonusa)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 6
29/08/2019 7:09 pm  

Here's the view of the foam I have referred to.

1567098560-Cushion.jpg

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objectworship
(@objectworship)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1146
30/08/2019 2:10 am  

Get them to send out a technician to adjust the button, and you’ll be fine. You don’t get a refund after a year and a half and one replacement chair already. If the clunk is normal per the factory then that’s your answer to that. Lack of odor is not a problem.  Go get the Lazboy, it’s objectively more comfortable, and they have a lifetime warranty on frame/springs/mechanism. Keep the Eames chair because it’s a nice symbol of your wife’s love for you, and it’s not so bad, after all.


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tktoo2
(@tktoo2)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 630
30/08/2019 3:08 am  

Hmmm... mine's from the mid-'70's and has the bronze bushing (which is worn) and does make a minor "thunk" you describe. It also on its third set of shock mounts and second set of cushions. I believe the current editions have a plastic bushing that I have no experience with.

Yes, the button needs adjusting.

I've never sat in the new larger size chairs. At 6ft/200lbs, I can tell you that the original dimensions are best suited to those closer to or under 5'-4"/140lbs. My wife and daughters love it (and look much better in it than I ever will).

Let go of the desire for "that new leather smell." It's overrated and doesn't last anyway.


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JasonUSA
(@jasonusa)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 6
30/08/2019 10:16 pm  
Posted by: objectworship

Get them to send out a technician to adjust the button, and you’ll be fine. You don’t get a refund after a year and a half and one replacement chair already. If the clunk is normal per the factory then that’s your answer to that. Lack of odor is not a problem.  Go get the Lazboy, it’s objectively more comfortable, and they have a lifetime warranty on frame/springs/mechanism. Keep the Eames chair because it’s a nice symbol of your wife’s love for you, and it’s not so bad, after all.

Hi objectworship,

Thank you for your input.  Regarding the clunk Herman Miller advised me yesterday that it is outside their tolerance and so they are making arrangements to have the base replaced.

With my original post I was essentially embarking on a fact finding mission.  I was being relayed a message from the factory (supposedly) advising that my product was just fine without looking at it.  I was dissatisfied with the product but was unable to determine if it was faulty or just me.  After all, this was the second time it had occurred to me.  It was dubious that the behavior of the chair changed from out of the box in a period of two months but I didn't have anything to compare it to and so needed to ask a wider audience.

I wasn't satisfied to just take the word of a wholesaler purporting to be passing along the official communication of the factory and wanted to dig deeper.

I certainly do cherish the chair as a symbol of my wife's love but I don't know that that necessarily means I should accept it for its faults.  If I purchased her an expensive time piece and one of the hands looked a little wonky I wouldn't want her to live with it as-is; I'd want to find out if that was normal or not.

I hear what you're saying that I should be grateful and I am.  I knew going into posting my first message that I'm right at the pinnacle of First World problems but, at the end of the day, my wife worked very hard for every one of those 6,575 dollar bills and I wasn't happy that they'd been traded against a defective product.  After all, why have something that's defective when you could have something that operates properly.

Now the leather is something else entirely.

Thanks again for your reply,

Jason.


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JasonUSA
(@jasonusa)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 6
30/08/2019 10:22 pm  
Posted by: tktoo2

Hmmm... mine's from the mid-'70's and has the bronze bushing (which is worn) and does make a minor "thunk" you describe. It also on its third set of shock mounts and second set of cushions. I believe the current editions have a plastic bushing that I have no experience with.

Yes, the button needs adjusting.

I've never sat in the new larger size chairs. At 6ft/200lbs, I can tell you that the original dimensions are best suited to those closer to or under 5'-4"/140lbs. My wife and daughters love it (and look much better in it than I ever will).

Let go of the desire for "that new leather smell." It's overrated and doesn't last anyway.

Hi tktoo2,

Thanks for your follow up reply.  I was speaking to somebody else yesterday and they were advising me of the original bronze bushings and that his company fabricates them so I'll be purchasing one to have on hand for when my 3rd base gives up a couple of months in the future (assuming it's not necessary to have a press to install it of course).

You know the leather thing is funny.  It's probably incorrect to do so but I symbolize the aroma with quality.  I'm from the UK and the smell of the interior of a Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin etc. etc. is so amazing because of the Connolization process used on the leather and it never goes away.  You can open the door of a 50 year old variant of any of those vehicles and your nose will be filled with the most delicious smell.  That's what I had imagined this chair would have been like.  I know it's a small thing, but it's an emotional thing.  If the Lounge Chair is designed to excite ones visual senses why not their smell also?

Thanks again,

Jason.


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JasonUSA
(@jasonusa)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 6
30/08/2019 10:30 pm  

So I wanted to wrap this discussion up by sharing some insight I received from speaking to Herman Miller yesterday.  The Eames Lounge Chair is not a piece of furniture; it's not really intended to be sat in and, if one does, it's not anticipated that it will be comfortable.  It is first & foremost a piece of art.  My wife purchased my Lounge Chair with the expectation that it would be an extremely comfortable place to sit while [it] looked amazing.  As far as we're concerned it was not supposed to be an art installation.  This surprised me because look on any blog be it design or remedies for a bad back and even best gaming chairs and what's always #1?  The Eames Lounge Chair.  I guess these people haven't ever sat in one, or at least not one of the new ones; I hear the original ones are much better.

So there it is.  My concerns are all dealt with.  We are to admire the chair and wow our friends with it but not use it for lounging.  It is therefore the Eames Looking Chair.

Jason.


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tktoo2
(@tktoo2)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 630
31/08/2019 12:18 am  

Ha! I had occasion to work with a designer that had worked for Charles and Ray at the Eames Studio back in the day. When I mentioned my chair, he told me that he'd owned 5 or 6 of them in the '60's-'70's and always hated them for being uncomfortable. Advised buying a Womb Chair instead if I had to have a design icon in the house.

I had a '69 Triumph GT6+ for awhile when I still had the requisite reflexes and waistline. I don't recall any aromas beyond burnt oil, unburnt petrol, and mildewed carpeting. You know, just the way they were shipped from the factory... An arguably useless car in the end. But, damn! It sure looked great parked out front.

 


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Fungus Mungus (USA)
(@fungus-mungus-usa)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 232
03/09/2019 8:41 am  

I had a vintage 670/671 lounge and ottoman for several years. I liked it...it was reasonably comfortable for my 5'8" frame, but it wasn't the most comfortable chair I'd sat in. I do recall that the bearing was a little worn, but not to the point that it clunked. It is an art piece and as such, demands a proper space. We moved a couple of years ago into a much smaller space...one that couldn't do it justice, so we sold it.

I don't recall the leather having that leather smell (as you smell in a new car). In fact, in the cars with leather interiors I've driven (MGBs, Lancias, etc), I definitely recall a leather smell. The smell of 30 year old leather that's been baked in the CA sun has. Not really what I would call a good smell.

fm


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(@davidhunternyc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 23
20/02/2020 10:59 pm  

For the last few months I have been doing research on what version of the Eames Lounge Chair to purchase, not for me but for my friend who is new to modernist furniture. Back in 2012 I spent many months researching Eames Lounge Chairs for myself but decided to pass on purchasing one because I don't like Palisander rosewood and Herman Miller was charging too much money in my opinion. Adjusted for inflation a new lounge chair and ottoman should be about $5,500. But now I was on a mission to find the perfect lounge chair for my friend. At first he loved the tall version of the chair with white Edelman leather at the Herman Miller store but, after all the boxes were checked, they wanted $8750 for the chair and ottoman. This is crazy expensive. We inquired about the Palisander rosewood and asked if there were some way to choose the shell for the chair. Some shells are yellowish. Some are dull. Some chairs have more dynamic surfacing. For $8750 we should have some kind of say in terms of what we got but no, this could not be done. I escalated the matter to the factory in Michigan and again Herman Miller said this wasn't possible. Really? So it's a crap shoot? You could get a nice shell or you might get an ugly one. My friend and I walked away. 

Chapter 2. The following weekend my friend and I drove to Wyeth in Sagaponack to see original Eames Chairs from long ago. We saw several versions but our favorite was a Generation 1 Eames Lounge Chair with 3 bolt arms, down feathers and boot glides on the ottoman. The thing about these older chairs is that they don't photograph well. Crushed cushions with worn out leather just doesn't look good in photos but in person these older chairs look spectacular. They are more comfortable to sit in too. The later chairs with thick foam place the body higher from the seat bottom and forward from the back. Your body sits more upright and it's not nearly as comfortable as the older chairs. Despite the high prices at Wyeth the price for the Generation 1 chair was more reasonable than I thought. The customer service at Wyeth was exemplary. 

Chapter 3. So now my friend and are convinced not to get a new chair. We want an historic chair with patina. This last weekend we sat in a Generation 2 chair and we both loved it. It's from the early 60's and it's stuffed with feathers and foam. It cradled us like the Generation 1 chair to a slightly less degree but it was still very comfortable. To clarify, the foam and feathers is encased in a white cotton or linen fabric first and then stuffed into the leather. I was surprised to see the above photo of the new Herman Miller chair with foam sticking out the button. Another benefit of buying a real vintage piece is that they are more beautiful. The patina on the leather and real Brazilian rosewood shells isn't something that can be replicated today. There are plenty of vintage chairs out there in the world and they were better made. Unlike the new chairs you can see the shells before you purchase. Unless it is a Generation 1 chair the Generation 2 & 3 chairs are less expensive than the new chairs from Herman Miller. It baffles my mind because it should be the other way around. Vintage chairs are qualitatively better than the new chairs but consumers are ignorant. With a vintage chair you'll have to check the shock mounts and there might be some repairs that need to be done but it isn't too difficult to resource. 

Chapter 4. Screw Herman Miller. Buy vintage. 

 

1582236190-Screen-Shot-2020-02-08-at-90450-PM.png

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tktoo2
(@tktoo2)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 630
21/02/2020 12:12 am  

Thx for dredging this one up, David. Jason is hilarious and I wish he'd come back!


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LiamSnow
(@liamsnow)
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1
31/03/2020 11:00 am  
Posted by: JasonUSA

Hi All,

I'm sure I'm in the same boat as most where I've lusted after a black Eames Lounge Chair for many a decade and, to my absolute delight, my wonderful wife surprised me with a brand new one complete with matching Ottoman for my 40th birthday 18 months ago.  I had never sat in one before and was extremely excited for it to arrive but, ever since it did, it's been incredibly disappointing.  I'm not looking for people to tell me how amazing their chairs are but really to let me know if yours share any of the below attributes or if I'm on my own here.  When I've reported these items to Hive Modern in the past they have said they're to be expected and the same was pretty much true of a conversation I had with Herman Miller this afternoon.  The thing is, when I detailed these attributes in a review on Hive Modern's website, the review wasn't published.  I find it interesting that they're OK to accept these items as attributes while not going so far as to include a review that called these out.

So here they are, I guess in some order of grievance:

  1. The chair "clunks" about the swivel.  This is a little difficult to describe but, out of the box, the chair swiveled only as one would expect; there was no movement front to back or side to side - perfect.  After a couple of months my first chair started "clunking" when I leaned forwards to egress.  If I stood behind the chair and applied pressure forwards, there would be a noticeable shift forwards with a "clunk".  Same thing side to side.  Hive Modern replaced the chair & ottoman for me.  A couple of months after receiving the replacement it exhibited the same thing.  When I reported it to Hive Modern the second time I was advised that 2 chairs in their offices do the same, one to a greater degree than the other, and that Herman Miller had described this as normal.

    Other Lounge Chair owners: is this normal?  Do your chairs do this as well?  If so, are you OK with this?  I don't think a piece of furniture should exhibit an attribute such as this 2 months out of the box; if this is normal I believe it should do this from day 1.

  2. We specified the MCL leather upgrade based on the description this was the closest modern day equivalent to the leather of the 1960s originals.  My second grievance is that it has zero leather odor, not even the faintest of whiffs.  In all honesty it may as well be PVC.  Does anybody else have the MCL leather?  Does yours have any leather odor?  Does anybody have the base leather and does that have any leather smell?  I really expected this piece to fill the room with the most delightful fug de bovine but no.
  3. One of the button holes in the seat cushion has stretched exposing the white foam within and showing that the leather is exceptionally thin.  I would imagine that the leather of anyone's chair fitted with MCL will be the same so I guess my question here is to those folks that have the regular Herman Miller leather: does yours feel pretty robust like one would expect the seat cushion of a $6.5k chair to feel?
  4. I have the tall version of the chair.  I am 6' and 170 lb.  When I sit in the chair I can feel the wood underneath the seat base cushion.  I was told by Herman Miller this morning that this is because I have the, more expensive, MCL leather.  MCL leather & non-MCL leather owners: how heavy are you and can you feel the wooden base when you sit in the chair?

I'm sure anybody reading this can tell I'm wholly dissatisfied with this chair and I'm wondering: is it me?  Am I being overly picky?  Am I expecting too much out of a $6,495 chair?  Or should I just shut up and convince myself it's awesome because...well, it's an Eame's Lounge Chair?  Honestly I wouldn't want to own a single LazyBoy chair but I figure at this point in time it's possible I'd be more satisfied having a room full of those than a single one of these; at least I'd feel like I was getting value for money and I know I wouldn't be able to feel a piece of chipboard below my posterior.

Thank you to all for any enlightenment.

Jason.

 

Hey, first of all, THANKS for your review. I was sceptical about the chair and I didn't know whether to buy it or not. Thanks to you, I will not be buying it. 

Is there a better chair that you would suggest? Maybe in the same price range or a bit cheaper? 

Thanks in advance! 😀 

Liam (I'm new here)


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(@davidhunternyc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 23
31/03/2020 2:52 pm  

Liam, before you make a decision do your research. Seek out vintage Eames Lounge Chairs and learn everything about their construction. For both excellence and value my preference is for the second generation lounge chairs. They are stuffed with both feathers and foam to prevent cushion collapse and they are very comfortable to sit in. Original rosewood shells are my preference too. You should be able to get a nice, all original chair and ottoman for a $4,000 - $6,000. Vintage chairs are qualitatively better than new chairs from Herman Miller which can cost twice as much.

https://theolivegreenwindow.blogspot.com/2013/01/eames-lounge-chair.html


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