Eames Plastic Chairs

Charles & Ray Eames, 1950

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'Getting the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least': with these words, Charles and Ray Eames described one of their main goals as furniture designers. None of their other designs come as close to achieving this ideal as the Plastic Chairs. For years, the designer couple explored the fundamental idea of a one-piece seat shell moulded to fit the contours of the human body. After experiments with plywood and sheet aluminium in the 1940s produce unsatisfactory results, their search for alternative materials led them to glass-fibre reinforced polyester resin.

© Eames Office, LLC

The Eames recognised and fully exploited the advantages of the material: mouldability, rigidity, pleasant tactile qualities, suitability for industrial manufacturing methods. With this material, which was previously unknown in the furniture industry, they successfully developed the shell designs for serial production. After their debut at the 'Low-Cost Furniture Design' competition organised by the Museum of Modern Art in 1948, the Plastic Armchair (A-shell) and Plastic Side Chair (S-shell) were launched on the market in 1950 as the very first mass-produced plastic chairs in the history of furniture.

The Eames Plastic Chairs also introduced a new furniture typology that has since become widespread: the multifunctional chair whose shell can be joined with a variety of different bases to serve diverse purposes. As early as 1950, Charles and Ray Eames presented a series of bases that enabled various sitting positions. An especially striking model is the so-called Eiffel Tower base – an intricate and graceful design made of steel wire that inimitably combines light, elegant forms with structural strength.

Today Vitra manufactures the comfortable seat shells of the Plastic Side Chairs and Plastic Armchairs in polypropylene, offering a multitude of bases, shell colours and upholstery options. This allows customers to specify countless different combinations and to use the chairs in the widest range of settings – from dining rooms, living rooms and home offices to office workspaces and conference rooms; from restaurants and cafés to break rooms and cafeterias; from waiting areas and auditoriums to terraces and gardens.

In 2016 Vitra has added approximately 20 mm to the height of the Eames Plastic Chairs DSX, DAX, DSR, DAR, DSW and DAW, while also revising the seat geometry. These modifications, which are aesthetically almost imperceptible, increase the comfort of this classic chair design, especially in combination with contemporary tables.

Base DAL, PACC, PSCC (1)
Base DSS, DSS-N (1)
Rocking skids RAR (2)
Material description
  • Seat shell: dyed-through polypropylene. All models (except RAR) are available with a seat cushion (screwed to the seat shell) or full upholstery. The fully upholstered version has moulded polyurethane foam padding covered in Hopsak fabric, attached to the shell with a welted edge. Covers are available in all Hopsak fabric colours. Different shell and upholstery colours and various bases provide a multitude of possible combinations.
  • Options: the Eames Plastic Chair is available as a visitor chair, dining chair, rocking chair, swivel chair or in stacking versions and with ganging brackets for row seating. Beam-mounted shells are suited for use in waiting areas.
This product was designed by
Charles & Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames are counted among the most important figures of twentieth-century design. Their work spans the fields of furniture design, filmmaking, photography and exhibition design. Vitra is the sole authorised manufacturer of Eames products for Europe and the Middle East. When you own an Eames product made by Vitra, you know it is an original.
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