The Shell Chairs by Charles and Ray Eames are among the most important designs in the history of furniture. Following their initial presentation at the 'Low Cost Furniture Design' competition organised by the Museum of Modern Art in 1948, the chairs were launched on the market in 1950 in an armchair version (A-shell) and as a simpler side chair (S-shell) – making them the first ever mass-produced chairs made of plastic.
With the debut of this revolutionary design, Charles and Ray Eames introduced a new furniture typology that has since spread around the globe: the multifunctional chair whose shell can be joined with a variety of different bases. One model has always stood out in this large family of chairs: the Rocking Armchair Rod Base (RAR). Despite its compact dimensions, this rocking chair offers pleasant comfort even for taller users. The fibreglass version of the organically shaped RAR shell features the lively texture that is a hallmark of this material. The fascination of fibreglass lies in its irregular surface, whose clearly visible fibres make it appear almost like a natural material. In order to show off these unique characteristics to maximum effect, the Fiberglass Chair RAR is not offered with upholstery.
The Fiberglass Chair RAR is a fully fledged, compact armchair, which adds a striking accent to any living space with its iconic shape and steel wire base on wooden runners. It is also available as the Plastic Chair RAR with a polypropylene shell, which can be fitted with an attached seat cushion or fully upholstered.
Available from March 2020.
Seat shell: dyed-through, glass-fibre reinforced polyester (fibreglass). Just like the earliest models, today's fibreglass shells are also slightly transparent in some colours.
RAR base: wire base with cross struts, solid maple runners. (RAR = Rocking Armchair Rod Base)
Origin of wood: maple (Acer platanoides) from Western Europe and/or Poland.
Eames Fiberglass Chairs
In 1948, Charles and Ray Eames participated in the 'International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design', organised by the New York Museum of Modern Art, entering a chair with a seat shell moulded to fit the contours of the human body along with a concept for a variety of bases. Their design won second prize. However, the metal seat shell proved too complex and expensive to achieve successful mass production.
The couple's search for alternative materials eventually led them to glass-fibre…
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.