Herman Miller Reintroduces Iconic Eames Molded Plastic Chair, Now Made with 100% Recycled Plastic
New Materials and Color Options Mark a Sustainable Milestone for Ray and Charles Eames’ Mid-Century Staple
Since its introduction in 1950, Eames Shell Chairs have popped up in nearly every setting on the planet, from smalltown diners to the lobbies of five-star hotels. The chair’s playful curves are unmistakable and continued popularity has cemented it as a mid-century icon — and its story is about to get even better. The Shell Chair was first introduced in molded plastic in 2006, and now, Herman Miller’s entire Eames Molded Plastic Chair portfolio will be made 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.*
“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 fiberglass, 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 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.”
These shell chair innovations are the most recent in a series of sustainable product updates Herman Miller has implemented. Most recently, the brand introduced the use of ocean-bound plastic in its best-selling Aeron Chair. 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.
The new Eames Molded Plastic Chairs are available for contract clients at specific business pricing via authorized MillerKnoll dealers. They are also available for purchase in Herman Miller’s online store and Herman Miller’s retail locations with a starting price of $295 USD. To learn more about the specific environmental information for each variation of the Eames Molded Plastic Chair and to see how purchasing these items can contribute to green building standards including LEED, please visit https://millerknoll.ecomedes.com/.
About Herman Miller
Since 1905, Herman Miller has been guided by a commitment to problem-solving designs that inspire the best in people. Along the way, Herman Miller has forged critical relationships with the most visionary designers of the day, from mid-century greats like George Nelson, the Eames Office, and Isamu Noguchi, to research-oriented visionaries like Robert Propst and Bill Stumpf — and with today’s groundbreaking studios like Industrial Facility and Studio 7.5. From the birth of ergonomic furniture to manufacturing some of the twentieth century’s most iconic pieces, Herman Miller has spent the last century pioneering original, timeless design that makes an enduring impact, while building a lasting legacy of design, innovation and social good. Herman Miller is a part of MillerKnoll (NADSAQ:MLKN), a collective of dynamic brands that comes together to design the world we live in. For more information, visit www.hermanmiller.com/about/our-story.
*Based on current annual sales forecast.