Now, you may well ask "how on earth can these guys afford these little beauties?" And the answer is of course, the once a year, nay - 1 DAY a year Vitra showroom sale. You can read about it here... As you can imagine, with an Eames lounge chair going for £199, there was always going to be a lineup, it just so happens that this lineup starts 2 days before the sale!!
Luckily for us, the Vitra showroom is literally 100m around the corner from our flat, so we thought we would brave the winter temperatures to get out early on the day and see what we could find. We had seen a couple of people camping on the doorstep of the store the day before, but figured there couldn't be more than 4 people that nuts about furniture, so we aimed for a 5.30am start. We didn't get there quite as early as planned, about 6.30 in the end. And by then, the lineup had already passed the (rather extensive) shopfront window... about 40 people, all desperate for some Vitra bargains, all looking decidely hungry for a bargain and like they had a lot fatter wallets than us.
Still, we pressed on, standing patiently in line, waiting for the doors to open at 9.30. Now, I know that London doesn't get as cold as some places (I visited a friend in Montreal recently and she took great pleasure in showing me the 10 different wool-lined, fur-covered, wind-stopping items she has to wear just to collect the mail), but standing still in 3 degrees for 3 hours is not fun. GG started out positive but slowly withered into an existentialist crisis... "What are we doing here?" "Why are we succumbing to this Western consumerism?" "Who would stand out in the freezing cold waiting to spend a lot of money on something they don't actually need?!"
At this point I sent him on a mission to get coffee and bacon butties, sighing in frustration as we had already discussed and agreed wholeheartedly that we absolutely needed 4 Eames DSWs for the dining table and a new office chair. Failing that, I wanted any Prouve item I could get. They had several standard chairs there in various colours, but sadly I think even on sale these guys would have been way beyond us (£525 EACH full price, that's 8 x what I paid for my first student car). Anyway, queueing wasn't so bad, I met and chatted with an architectural photographer, who was shortly to be published in Wallpaper, and a design student.
By the way, the shop looks nothing like it does in that photo - on sale day it is 100% rammed with designer goodies, packed in so tight you can't move. And since it would be impossible to physically pick up the thing you want, you just take the sticker off the item you want, pay for it and then they bring it to you out the back... Simple.
The doors finally opened at 9.30, everybody rushed in, the first 20 people ripped the stickers off everything, and by the time we got in there was barely anything left but chaos. All the dining chairs were gone. GG hesitated for a second over a 70% off green leather Eames desk chair and the sticker got ripped out from under him. I eventually found a black fabric Eames wheeled office chair, got the sticker and we lined up to pay. GG was in a daze, he doesn't cope well with flash decision making. I had the same idea as everybody else. If we don't want it we'll sell it on ebay for a profit. And then it happened. We were standing right next to a whole stack of Eames white plastic stacking chairs (the DSS, oh what a difference a letter makes), when suddenly a hand pokes through the queue and places a sticker back on the chair. I immediately grabbed it to find that a set of 4 white DSS chairs were going for £270 - that's the equivalent of what a single chair costs alone! We were set.
We brought home our goodies (wheeling the office chair around the corner back to our flat was pretty funny - I stopped short of asking GG to wheel me in it), I found some fake, excuse me, reproduction maple legs on ebay (actually we bought the whole chairs and swapped over the legs to resell them), and viola! 4 x perfect, almost 100% genuine Eames DSWs, sitting around my dining table looking gorgeous and feeling super comfortable.
Of course, that whole leg-swapping thing took a while to get happening, as you can see from the change of season between initial purchase and blog posting. And we've had to tell a couple of people that we bought them in a thrift shop... its tough to wake up one day and realise, Yes, you are the type of person to spend that kind of money on chairs that look like they belong in a classroom. Oh well, its love.
Some more eye candy: