Charles & Ray Eames, 1950
The idea of making a three-dimensional molded shell goes back to a design from 1940. The original attempt to make the shell out of plywood was unsuccessful, however, due to the extreme conditions necessary to mold the material. Only with the advent of fiberglass technology was it possible to achieve satisfying results.
The first Fiberglass Chair went into production in 1950. After years of experimentation, Charles and Ray Eames were able to realize their goal: an industrially produced chair that is inexpensive, sturdy, and comfortable. For ecological reasons however fibreglass was questionably. Thanks to recent advances in technology and materials, the DSW can be produced today in exact the same shape but made of polypropylene.
For over two decades, the Vitra Design Museum has been making miniature replicas of milestones in furniture design from its collection. The Miniatures Collection encapsulates the entire history of industrial furniture design – moving from Historicism and Art Nouveau to the Bauhaus and New Objectivity, from Radical Design and Postmodernism all the way up to the present day. Exactly one sixth the size of the historical originals, the chairs are all true to scale and precisely recreate the smallest details of construction, material and colour. The high standard of authenticity even extends to the natural grain of the wood, the reproduction of screws and the elaborate handicraft techniques involved. This has made the miniatures into popular collector's items as well as ideal illustrative material for universities, design schools and architects.