Herman Miller gives flagship chair a sustainable update

The Eames chair is now offered in 100% recycled plastic.

ZEELAND, Mich. – Office furniture giant Herman Miller’s iconic Eames chair is now made of 100% recycled plastic.

Since its introduction in 1950, the Eames shell chair quickly became one of the most recognized chairs in the world. 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 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.”

The brand is also 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 gray, blue green, gray green and light gray.

This isn’t the first time the Shell Chair has undergone a material transformation, says Herman Miller. The Eameses’ 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 of these, along with upholstery and seat pads, are still a part of the line today.

“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,” said Watson. “It’s no coincidence Herman Miller pieces such as Eames Shell Chairs are often passed down among families or become coveted vintage pieces.”

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.

Relates stories:

Related Posts