Inside Out (Australia)

Eames Elephant by Charles & Ray Eames

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The form: A stylised elephant made from two moulded polypropyl­ene parts fixed together. What makes it special? Originally developed in 1945 as a whimsical extension of the experiment­s the Eames Offffice was making with moulded plywood seating, the Elephant was one of five figures designed as a child’s toy and seat. Only two finished examples of the elephant were made in plywood. A small run of 5000 children’s chairs and tables went into production in early 1946 using much the same birch plywood and manufactur­ing technique, but these were only sold at limited outlets. In 2007, Vitra launched a limited edition of the plywood Elephant to celebrate what would have been Charles Eames’s 100th birthday. Vitra reproduced the 1945 design with the utmost accuracy, making 1000 in natural maple and 1000 in red-stained maple. The limited-edition Elephants sold out almost immediatel­y and prompted Vitra to reissue the design in a dyed-through polypropyl­ene version so the toy could be used (and abused) by children as intended. The plastic version is far more robust than its predecesso­r and still receives the same joyful reaction from children the world over. Expect to pay: $430 each. Buy at: Living Edge, livingedge.com.au.

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