0

Are you sure?

You still have in your basket

If you continue to our gift website, these items will not be present in your new Utility Gift basket.s in your basket won't carry over to the gift site.

However, your Utility Design shopping basket will be saved here for 30 days should you wish to return to it.

Sign Up To The Utility Newsletter For 10% OFF Your First Order

  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Charles and Ray Eames - The Chair of the Century

Charles and Ray Eames - The Chair of the Century

The real Questions are : Does is solve s problem? Is it serviceable? How will it look in ten years? Charles Eames

The Eames Story

Charles and Ray Eames are the couple that shaped the way we live today. The two designers crossed artistic genres with their insightful architecture and furniture and have left a lasting legacy on the world of design. They are two of the most influential and well renowned furniture designers, but they also evolved into cultural ambassadors, influencing positive change with the US government and established businesses to modernise post war America. “We don’t do art - We solve problems’ Charles Eames

One of Charles and Ray Eames most enduring furniture designs is the iconic shell chair, which remain as popular today as when they were first released in 1950.


In celebration of this design icon and the lasting success of the designs, Vitra have released a brand new palette of 14 colours in collaboration with the Eames family. Uniting both the fiberglass and plastic versions of the chair.
“What works good is better than what looks good because what works good lasts’

Charles and Ray Eames first became inspired to design a comfortable chair in 1939 and they began working on the concept in their studio. The designers are notorious for designing to solve problems. After listening to the problems friends and family faced the aim was to create affordable pieces that made a great design accessible to everybody. It finally came to life in 1950 with the introduction of the Eames Shell Chair. The chairs behold a truly timeless silhouette whilst challenging the idea of what a chair should be. Decades later, it remains a gracious expression of the Eames desire to make the “The best for the most for the least”


A Brief History

In the 1930s and 1940s Charles and Ray Eames set out to create a new furniture typology that met the needs of a rapidly changing society. In 1930 Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen collaborated to experiment with moulded plywood, which led to the creation of the organic chair. Although it won first prize at MoMA’s Organic Design competition in 1940, it couldn’t be produced in the quantities the Eames desired, and so it went back to the drawing board.

Many more years were spent exploring the idea of a moulded shell that fit the contours of the human body, which finally led the Eames’s to plastic reinforced fibreglass. This offered mould ability, tactility and also was suitable for mass industrial manufacturing. The design duo then went on to launch the first mass-produced shell chair in 1950.

The chair was a practical robust design that was easy to clean and was appropriate for all sorts of situations from the office to the living room. It wasn’t long before the chair was seen in homes, workspaces and public buildings across the globe. It was at the peak of success doe four decades, however the environmental impact of fibreglass production began to be called into question.


New Materials for a Sustainable Generation

The fibreglass chair was discontinued in 1933, which then followed years of exploring more sustainable options. In 1998 a solution was found and the chair was reintroduced with the shell in polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer, and thanks to the new high tech production process, Vitra was able to reintroduce the fibreglass version of the Eames Shell Chairs in 2018.

Although models and materials have developed over time for a mass produced chair with a single shell, the strength of the design concept has meant the Eames shell chairs have remained continually popular for over seven decades.


The chairs are divided into groups of neutral, medium and bright shades. This new palette has been inspired by the original tones picked by Charles and Ray Eames in the 1940’s and 1950’s. This new palette of colours highlights the special properties of both fibreglass and polypropylene plastic finishes, allowing the two types of shell chair to be styled together harmoniously.


Time for more? 10 Of The Best Modern Designer Coffee Tables |Muuto Restore Basket - A More Sustainable Storage Solution | 10 Pinterest Boards For Scandinavian Furniture / Interior Lovers

Next Working Day Delivery

View UK delivery options

Delivering to 150 Countries

View delivery options

Thank You Messages

I have rarely experienced such excellent quality advice, support and reliability. Your staff communicate effectively and helpfully. I am a truly satisfied customer. I love my String Shelving and I will not hesitate to return to Utility for my next purchase. Thank you!

Oct 24th 2019 | Sarah

Your customer service has been fantastic. I'm seriously impressed. Really pleased to be able to place the bigger order and make your time worthwhile. I think I need to send you a medal!

May 19th 2019 | Jason

I just wanted to express my thanks again for your great customer service. I ordered my items less than 24 hours ago and I’ve amended my order- yet I still have my order here with me now. You went out of your way to deliver my order and I’m very grateful. I wish more places had people like you :-)

May 14th 2019 | Louise

Thanks so much for your extraordinary service. -

Jun 19th 2019 | Maria (US)

Thanks again for such amazing customer service - I have honestly been so impressed by everything! Thank you for doing such a wonderful job

Jun 19th 2019 | Amber

Excellent customer service and immediate response to enquiry (live chat). Very happy every time used Utility both online and on high street.

Jun 28th 2019 | Jo

I couldn't be happier with the custom made sofa bought through the online store. It is perfect and made all the more enjoyable by buying it through the guys at utility. Ben and Paul who delivered the sofa were amazing, kind and really helpful in a difficult situation (of course the lift broke when I was getting something delivered). Would highly recommend!

Aug 13th 2019 | Holly

Just wanted to message and say that I'm a big fan of the Utility Stores and the types of products you guys sell. I work close by to the Manchester store at University Green, so I'm popping in a fair bit generally for cards, gifts, etc. I just nipped in again this afternoon about one product I'd bought earlier and the staff were super helpful and attentive. It made it really easy, and I was in and out in no time.

Aug 13th 2019 | Richard

Just wanted to drop you guys a quick note to say how happy I am with the service I have had. Especially the two guys who delivered/carried into an awkward space/built/then took away the packaging, not to mention then gave me a lift into town. Thank you. Plus the sofa looks amazing. I will definitely be using you guys more in the future and will highly recommend you to anyone who will listen.

Sep 13th 2019 | Luke

Thank you for all your help and customer service, the Eames Lounge Chair arrived yesterday and I love it.

Nov 1st 2019 | Ross

Comment: I just wanted to say that Esther on the checkout in the L1 store made my day today she was so friendly

Dec 9th 2019 | Katy