Charles and Ray Eames introduced their iconic Shell Chairs in 1950 winning a Good Design Award that same year, thereby marking the opening gun to full-blown modernism and America’s love for modern furniture.
Seventy years later, the chair together with other seating in the Eames Molded Plastic Portfolio will make another trail-blazing appearance at Herman Miller, using 100% post-industrial recycled plastic—the equivalent of approximately 122 tons of plastic per year and a 15% carbon reduction annually for the beloved product line. Dining Furniture
As part of MillerKnoll, Herman Miller’s product changes are contributing to the greater collective’s 2030 Sustainability Goals, a company-wide strategy dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint, designing out waste, and sourcing better materials throughout the collective of brands.
“Ray and Charles Eames embraced a spirit of continuous reinvention for the Molded Plastic Chair, especially in developing the use of sustainable materials with each iteration,” said Ben Watson, President, Herman Miller.
“Herman Miller is honoring that design legacy with the introduction of an Eames Molded Plastic Chair made from 100% recycled plastic, and we will continue to challenge ourselves to pursue meaningful, responsible change.”
The new material formulation is not the only change awaiting the Eames Molded Plastic Chair portfolio.
To celebrate the switch to sourcing 100% post-industrial recycled plastic, the brand is introducing a refreshed collection of available shell colors, which will include three of the previously offered colors (Black, White, and Red Orange) and nine new hues: Evergreen, Cocoa, Deep Yellow, Brick Red, Pale Blue, Medium Grey, Blue Green, Grey Green, and Light Grey.
The colors were specifically chosen to present designers and consumers with an updated palette that spans the basic color families with a current, cohesive sensibility.
The modernized array of shades will bolster the Shell Chair’s distinctive ability to flawlessly incorporate itself into a space, regardless of whether the space is refined, relaxed, or somewhere in between.
This isn’t the first time the Shell Chair has undergone a material transformation.
Ray and Charles’ original 1950 designs were fiberglasses, and the line expanded to include bent wire the following year.
Eventually, the environmental hazards of working with fiberglass prompted a switch to polypropylene (2006), but evolving material technology made it possible to return to a safer fiberglass option for the environment again in 2013; the introduction of wood finishes followed shortly after.
All these options, along with upholstery and seat pads, are still a part of the line today.
The Eames Shell Chair was designed on the principle of adaptability, and the vast number of configurations available offers solutions that work for endless applications and environments.
“Part of the responsible design is first making things that will last. The second part is always looking for ways we can improve our designs to make the world more sustainable and equitable for all,” says Watson.
“It’s no coincidence Herman Miller pieces like Eames Shell Chairs are often passed down among families or become coveted vintage pieces.”
The starting price of the chairs is $295 USD.
Project: Eames Moulded Plastic Chair Collection in 100% Recycled Plastic Designers: Charles and Ray Eames Manufacturer: Herman Miller
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