Eames Plastic Chairs RE

Charles & Ray Eames, 1950

'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 produced unsatisfactory results, their search for alternative materials led them to glass-fibre reinforced polyester resin.

Eames Plastic Chairs RE

For deliveries from January 2024, the shells of the Eames Plastic Chairs will be manufactured from post-consumer recycled material. Due to the composition of the recycled material, the different colour variations of the seat shells are interspersed with tiny specks of pigment.

The Eameses 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.
Over the years and in ongoing consultation with the Eames family, Vitra has introduced more sustainable materials for the seat shells of the Eames Shell Chairs. As of 2024 the shells of the Eames Plastic Chairs are now made of recycled plastic and the chair family is known as Eames Plastic Chair RE. The high-quality recycled material stems from household recycling, particularly used packaging, obtained through the 'Yellow Bag' (Gelber Sack) collection programme in Germany. Utilising this raw material instead of petroleum-based primary plastics generates fewer climate-damaging emissions, with a significant reduction in primary energy consumption. Due to the composition of the recycled material, the different colours are interspersed with tiny specks of pigment. The colour white has been replaced by cotton white RE, however the original white polypropylene version is expected to still be available until December 2024. Like the seat shells of Eames Plastic RE, it is 100% recyclable at the end of its product life.
cotton white RE
citron RE
emerald RE


Products of the family
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.