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The Eames DSW Chair

November 7th, 2019

Category: WB Jamieson

Author: Darren Seymour

Why is the DSW Chair by Charles and Ray Eames so special?

In this blog post we have decided to delve a little deeper into the details of a chair which is exceptional by all standards. 

If you don't already know about the Eames DSW and DSR chairs it is highly likely that you recognise them. This enduring and prolific design has a cult-like status among architects, interior designers and furniture enthusiasts.


Charles & Ray Eames

To begin with, Eames is the surname of the husband and wife design duo who developed the furniture. Their name has become synonymous with boundary-pushing, classic and timeless design.

The design has become so widely recognised and revered that before long many copies began to pop-up. (If you want to know about our take on fakes and copies then you can read this post here and here). 

Before we continue... What are DSR and DSW?

The Eames DSW and DSR describe the base of these iconic plastic dining chairs.


  • DSR simply stands for Dining-height Side-chair Rod-base. (Sometimes known as the Eiffel base for its obvious resemblance to the famous tower in Paris.)


  • DSW stands for Dining-height Side-chair Wooden-base. (The wooden version of the chair base is also sometimes referred to as the Dowel side chair.)

Eames DSW plastic chair

How have the Eames DSW + Eames DSR chairs become so iconic?

To understand what it is that makes the Eames DSW + Eames DSR chairs so iconic it is important to look at their history and indeed the time in which they we conceived.

Charles and Ray Eames were a husband and wife design duo who worked predominantly designing furniture as well as having a keen interest in architecture and the home in all its nuances. 

They once made the statement: 

" Getting the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least "

These words formed one of their main goals as furniture designers. The Eames DSR + DSW epitomises this goal.

The DSW version was the original design from the Eameses, however, in the early days of its conception it was fraught with issues of the wood splitting and splintering under the pressure and weight loads of the user.

Going back to the drawing board the Eameses developed the DSR or "Eiffel" steel rod-base. An immediate improvement and a success the DSR was produced solely until 2001 when Herman Miller and Vitra decided to reintroduce the Dowel-legged DSW, this time reinforced with steel rods this has since become the more popular option.

Why was the Eames DSR / DSW so groundbreaking?

The chairs construction utilised new methods and manufacturing processes which were cutting edge at the time. The chair was incredibly forward thinking and it provided the opportunity for these chairs to be made quickly and at volume while maintaining a high quality finish. 

The Eameses produced a whole collection of plastic (originally fibreglass - which has since been re-released) chairs in a range of styles. We have already determined the possibly more recognised of the designs, but below are the other options which we also stock at WB Jamieson.

The Eames DAW Chair

The Eames DAW takes the same concept as the DSW with the wooden dowel legs, however in this variation the plastic moulded seat it crafted to form raised sides giving the chair arms. So quite simply put, DAW Stands for Dining Armchair Wooden-base.

The Eames RAR Chair

The RAR Chair is a rocking chair version of the armchair with the letters standing for Rocking Armchair with Rod-base. This is the more unusual variation but it is a comfortable piece which looks the part.


For the first time, the bold, bright colours of plastic meant that the chairs could be produced in a wide range colours. The seats are available everything from Vibrant zesty yellows to deep jet black. 

The Chairs now even come with a choice of upholstery option increasing the variety and texture of the original form. 

 You can learn more about the Eames shell chair here:

Our blog post here shows some great footage of how the Eames chairs are manufactured:


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