08.07.13

The History of the Eames Molded Plywood Splint

It has always been a tradition to present the Leader’s Breakfast honoree with an Eames Molded Plywood Splint. The piece created by Charles and Ray embodies the idea that innovation and the continuous need to advance existing technology will always be prevalent within the design community. Presenting the Leader’s Breakfast guest with this historic piece connects a notable figure in the industry with an iconic piece of history.

The splint was not always seen as a piece of art, but rather a necessity during war time. Charles and Ray Eames were commissioned by the U.S. Navy during World War II to create a lightweight leg splint after sighting that the traditional metal splints caused additional pain to the soldier during transportation. The new wood design needed to be created quickly and inexpensively and would utilize a production method that was previously difficult to achieve. The molded plywood technique was a process that Charles and Ray were trying to achieve for years, but due to the complex nature of molding a flat material, they did not have the technology to perform the method. Their collaboration with the Navy gave them access to the manufacturing facilities that would make this design a reality and forever change the aesthetic of wood as a material for design. The successful outcome of the splint and its 3-dimensional form began a long history of molded plywood manufacturing which would become an iconic technique in furniture design.

This simple piece of durable plywood changed the way the material was viewed and its utilitarian development continues to inspire design today. James Bonar will be receiving the Eames Molded plywood Splint this September 20th at Leader’s Breakfast.

Tickets for Leaders Breakfast are going fast! We’ve sold half the tables and early bird pricing ends in August. Buy now for best seating! Make sure to buy your tickets to this year’s event here.

Jaclyn Giuliano, IIDA
Herman Miller

Back to Blog