In 1945, Charles and Ray Eames designed the legendary Plywood Elephant. Only two prototypes were made from this production-ready plan, which were immediately shown in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York after production. Today only one model is known to still be in existence, and is in the possession of the Eames family.
Charles and Ray Eames were fascinated by elephants: Many images of these gentle giants were found in Charles' photographic documentation of Indian culture and the circus world. The Plywood Elephant was intended to be a toy for children, which its merry curves and powerful expression show.
To celebrate Charles Eames’ 100th birthday in 2007, Vitra launched a limited rerelease of the Plywood Elephant.
The response was fantastic and the 2,000 copies of the design, created in 1945 yet never mass-produced, sold out in an instant.
The majority of buyers though didn’t purchase the Plywood Elephant to have as a toy, instead treating it like a collector’s item. Quite understandable, given the limited release, though also unfortunate as Charles & Ray Eames had designed the elephant as a toy.
With this in mind, Vitra has decided to develop a well-priced, child-friendly version: the plastic Eames Elephant. The material change is in line with one of the designers’ most important mottos: ‘The most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least.’
In 1950, Charles and Ray Eames were the first designers to make use of plastic, which at that stage was unknown to the furniture industry, and were able to cheaply make seat shells for their designs.
Like the plastic seat shells on today’s Eames Plastic Chairs, the Eames Elephant is made from polypropylene.It is available in five colours: red, ice grey, white, dark lime and light pink.Whether as a toy (even outside) or as an object in your children’s room - the friendly-looking animal with distinctive, oversized ears may make the hearts of children and parents beat a little bit faster.The Eames Elephant has the GS and CE certificates standard for toy equipment.