Herman Miller: Eames Shell Chairs
Charles and Ray Eames adapted molding techniques developed during World War II to mass-produce this classic design. At first, fiberglass was their medium of choice, but when its production proved to be environmentally unsafe, Herman Miller turned to plastic. The resulting molded plastic shell chairs are true to the originals and are fully authentic, with updated materials to meet environmental requirements. Their enduring forms and quality construction make them comfortable, durable performers.
Now, with advancements in fiberglass production and composition, the Shell Chairs are back in fiberglass. With the same striations and upholstery options that Mid-Century Modern enthusiasts have been attracted to for years, the molded fiberglass chairs make a perfect counterpart for the molded plastic chairs. They use monomer-free, VOC-free resin and a molding process that severely reduces hazardous airborne compounds. Fully recyclable, the fiberglass shell chairs are the new vintage.
As if 100 percent recyclable polypropylene and fiberglass weren't already impressive enough, the new Molded Wood Shell Chairs have joined the party with beautiful veneer. Formed using dynamic 3D veneer technology, these chairs mimic the shape of the original shell chair family, with many of the same bases.
The Eames Shell Chairs are bright, playful, and classic. Their colorful shells and the creative, symmetrical contours of the chairs themselves combine to give these pieces a truly unique look and feel. They're perfect for homes and work equally well as office guest chairs. A mix of serious design and imaginative form, they fit well pretty much wherever you put them. There is a rocking chair version, as well as single, simple shells and models with elegant wire legs and support. Each and every model of the chair serves the home in a different, constructive way, and Smart Furniture is very pleased to offer them to our customers in the exact same proportions that they've always had.
That kind of continuity is important when you're dealing with a truly classic chair. The version of the chair that you can buy from Smart Furniture today looks and feels exactly like the one you can see at the museum. It's rare for fine furniture like this - with such a vaunted critical reputation - to still be a big seller on the contemporary market. It speaks to the ingenuity and forward-thinking nature of the shell chairs and of their creators, Charles and Ray Eames (see the shell chairs' design story, and be sure to read our summary of their striking design. Charles and Ray didn't design furniture that was part of the current design "conversation" in the 40s, 50s and 60s. They built new forms that pushed that conversation forward. They asked new questions about what furniture could be, what it could look like, of what it could be made, and how it could feel. And their answers became legendary. The Eames Shell Chairs are only one in a long list of major furniture pieces that the Eameses used to revolutionize furniture design in their lifetimes. That list includes the LCW, the Eames Lounge Chair, the Aluminum Group, and the Hang-It-All. And even those are only the tip of the iceberg.
What Herman Miller says about these chairs is true: good design never changes. The appearance of the shell chairs is exactly the same as it always has been. It's possible to have museum quality furniture in your home with the Eames molded plastic, fiberglass, and wood chairs. They're also fun, beautiful, comfortable, and very well made.