This time around I thought I’d share an article first published by Archicture Daily.
(words and animated gifs: Architecture Daily)
The history of the Shell Chair began more than 10 years before the design’s public debut in 1950. Years before marrying Ray, Charles was already experimenting with techniques for molding plywood, and his efforts resulted in the design of objects such as stretchers, splints and even a seat glider for the US Navy.
After the war was over and the two were married, the Eameses returned to investigating the possibility of creating a chair that could be mass-produced. Despite their efforts, they were still incapable of creating a curved plywood chair using only a “single shell” (although thanks to this experimentation the Eames Plywood Chair was born).
Two years after the debut of the Plywood Chair, they created a chair using just one “shell” in molded metal for MoMA’s International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design. They took home second place, but the prototype was too costly so they began to search for new materials such as plastic reinforced with fiberglass.
From that research the chair that we present today was born, becoming the first plastic chair made in the series. Over the years, the chair has been produced in other colors and shapes and with different upholstery options, making it not only reproducible, but also customizable.
Today, Herman Miller manufactures an exact replica of the original chair design, incorporating a 100% recyclable polypropylene. See the 12-step fabrication process of the chair below.
Learn more about the Shell Chair here.
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