The Making of The Fiberglass Chair

Watch as the original craftsman makes Eames Shell Chairs recreating the same process they used half a century ago. Film shot at Century Plastics. Using authentic material, a nearly lost art form is revived.

6 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Not to open up a huge debate here, but technically this video shows the making of a Modernica shell chair. They do not hold the license to manufacture Eames-branded chairs—that right belongs to Herman Miller in the US and Vitra in Europe.

    Incidentally, this is the original (and lovelier) Eames Office video from 1970 that is being copied here:

  2. Little typo: half a century, instead of “a century” ago

  3. Thanks for sharing this! Love it.

  4. Why are the fibreglass chairs not made anymore?? Is this fibreglass process bad for the workers (I noticed no masks or gloves) or bad for the environment?

  5. Stepanie:

    The polyester resin used in the fiberglass chairs is not recyclable.

    The new chairs are produced from injection-molded polypropylene, which is recyclable and probably cheaper.

    Good call on the masks and gloves. I wouldn’t want to work with that stuff without protection.

  6. It’s not entirely true that the resin / fiber assembly isn’t recyclable- but it is true that its much more difficult to recycle (there are only a few commercial fiberglass recyclers in the US, not sure about Europe), and the potential re-uses are very limited compared to polypropylene.

    On the other hand- I think the fiberglass chairs are extremely beautiful and durable, and therefore less likely to be landfilled at all. I sit on one made in the early 50’s every day. In my opinion, from an experiential perspective, the qualities of the fiberglass chairs are not really comparable to the injection molded chairs. I love the way light plays through them, the depth of the colors, the way the material feels to touch and sit on. It’s all design geeky stuff to be sure, but that’s the primary market for these chairs in this day and age (a far cry form the original target market for sure)!

    Worker safety is a biggie of course, but there are established standards for working safely with these materials. Think insulation contractors! I ‘d love to know if / when Modernica plans to restart production on their shell chairs…

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