Sacrilege or daring re-invention?

New Dutch furniture company reworks Eames classic to startling effect. But do you approve?

We all know how well-loved the iconic Eames lounge chair and ottoman has become over the years. Designed by Charles Eames to have "the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt” and put into production by Herman Miller in 1956 it’s even become part of the permanent collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art. 

It’s a love affair that caught the heart of Dutch furniture designer Niels Wildenberg who bought one of the chairs at the tender age of 21 (apparently instead of spending the money on a car). Twenty two years later he’s the founder of Mal, a new garden furniture company in Eindhoven, Holland and has - well you can see what he’s done in the picture above.

It’s called Mal 1956 (mal being the Dutch word for mould) and is made of a polythene powder that’s been heated up in an aluminium mould. Holes drilled into the plastic take the place of the leather press-studs on the original design and allow the chair to drain water. 

The designer calls it “a respectful tribute” and adds, “we strongly believe in the fact that we have created a new product.”  At $1,120 it’s also a snip compared to the original. But is this a daring re interpretation and the kind of cool addition to a garden that will mark the owner out as a knowing design aesthete (albeit one with a penchant for bright orange) or do you think iconic design classics like the lounge chair should be left as they were intended by the original designer? Let us know what you think below.

And when you’ve had your say don’t forget to check out Phaidon Design Classics which features the lounge chair and ottoman and many of the other iconic designs by Charles and Ray Eames as well as a whole host of other influential designs - pretty much all of them not available in orange.