The history of the Eames hang it all coat hanger

We explore the history of this quirky coat hanger and show how you can display it at home

Eames hanger shot on white

Playful, eye-catching and useful, the Eames Hang It All is an icon that spawned a thousand copies and is still in production today. Made using techniques that were brand new at the time, its structure speaks of modernism and the birth of an exciting phase in 20th-century furniture design

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Reminiscent of floating snooker balls or a model of atoms, the Hang It All, with its 14 coloured balls attached to a wire frame, was designed to appeal to children – and to encourage them to hang up their things. It was created in 1953 by husband and wife design duo Ray and Charles Eames, who often catered for children, designing building sets, furniture and play animals. But the Hang It All wasn’t just for the young; it appealed just as much to adults – its playful, optimistic, space-age aesthetic chiming with the spirit of the post-war years. Like other designers of the mid 20th century, the Eameses were attracted to new materials and production techniques. The pair’s earliest designs experimented with moulding plywood, but it was welded wire that became their trademark, forming the architecture of chair and table legs, as well as the Hang It All’s frame.

Eames hanger shot on white

Behind the Brand: Charles & Ray Eames

Charles (1907-78) and Ray Eames (1912-88) were American pioneers of the modernist movement, driven by a desire to combine art and industry for social good. Over four decades from the 1940s, they designed everything from chairs to houses, with their work representing the best of 20th-century design. They met at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1940 and married in 1941, settling in Los Angeles where they began exploring ways to create exciting and affordable furniture using a range of modern materials. Their designs were picked up by American manufacturer Herman Miller, which continues to produce their work, with the licence for Europe and the Middle East held by Vitra since 1957. The couple had no children together, but Charles had a daughter, Lucia, from his first marriage.

An archive photo of Charles and Ray Eames pinned to a white board with Eames Hang it Alls

4 Ways to style

1

DARK WOOD

A special edition Eames Hang it All beside an Eames DSW armchair and a mid-century clock

Try the stylish limited edition in walnut if you like the dark wood look. This is one of Vitra’s re-editions of the classic design. Pair with another Eames icon, the DAR chair, and a George Nelson Sunburst clock for full designer impact.

2

RETRO COLOUR POP

A colourful Eames Hang it all on a bright teal wall beside a bunch of wildflowers

A dark wall in green, grey or blue will best show off the original Hang It All colours. Place above a cabinet or console table to create a focal point, brightening up a hallway. Alexander Girard’s characterful wooden dolls for Vitra are the perfect accompaniment.

3

RED ALERT

A red Eames Hang it All on a pale pink wall beside a vintage wall hanging

In 2013 Vitra gave the Hang It All an update, producing it in three new colourways: white, green and, our favourite, red. This set’s tones are an ideal match for on-trend wall colour, blush. Display with other pieces on the red-pink-purple spectrum.

4

STYLISH BLACK AND WHITE

A black Eames Hang it All hanging with coats and scarves in a monochrome hallway
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Let your design items take centre stage by showing them off against a monochrome background. The Hang It All in black ash looks fabulous against white walls offset by a natural wood floor. Add a black Eames House Bird and occasional table to finish the look.