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Eames Fiberglass Chair | Return Of The Original

Eames Fiberglass Chair From Vitra

As huge fans of the work of Charles & Ray Eames, we're incredibly excited to announce that the original Eames Fiberglass Chair is being put into production by Vitra and will be available to purchase online at Utility. A true, official original, the Eames Plastic Chair will be available to purchase alongside the classic Eames Plastic Chair in 6 colours.

The collection is now available to order online at Utility.

History of the Eames Fiberglass Chair

The year was 1948 and as part of the "International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design) design duo Charles & Ray Eames entered their first iteration of the Eames Chair. The steel shell was moulded to fit the contours of the human body and included the concept for a variety of base options. The New York Museum of Modern Art awarded the Eames' second prize but their shell proved too complex and expensive to achieve successful mass production. Not ready to give up, Charles & Ray Eames went about finding suitable alternative materials.

The couple's search eventually led them to glass-fibre reinforced polyester resin, which until then had been primarily restricted to military applications such as aircraft radomes and cockpit covers. The couple recognised and fully utilised the advantages of fibreglass: it's tensile strength, rigidity and suitability for industrial manufacturing methods. With this material they successfully developed the moulded seat shells for mass production: the Eames Fiberglass Chair was born. Its organically shaped, one-piece shell proved to be a much-admired innovation at a time when chairs typically consisted of a seat and backrest. Fibreglass offered the added advantage of pleasant tactile qualities and a perfectly moulded form for optimal comfort.

Eames Fiberglass Chair Production © Eames Office, LLC
Eames Fiberglass Chair 1950's © Eames Office, LLC

The chairs themselves need little introduction these days - the striking series of bases and combination of revolutionary seat shells were innovative at the time and have brought the chair collection design icon status. The Eames Fiberglass Chair is instantly recognisable (and widely copied) today.

Up until the late 1940's fiberglass had only really existed in colourless versions but Charles & Ray Eames attached great importance to the use of colour. They prototyped countless colour hues in an effort to create the colours that they felt best accentuated the organic shape of their designs. The first colours developed were Greige (a mix of grey and beige) and Elephant Hide Grey, which was is what Charles came up with after saying "What I really want is a black with feeling". Sea foam green, yellow and red shortly followed in the early days of production.


Eames Fiberglass Chair Original Sketches © Eames Office, LLC
Eames Fiberglass Chair Original Lifestyle Image © Eames Office, LLC
Eames Fiberglass Chair © Eames Office, LLC

The Fiberglass Chairs were launched on the market in 1950, introducing a new furniture typology that has since become widespread: the multifunctional chair whose shell can be combined with a variety of bases to serve different purposes. In response to the enormous popularity of the chair, the choice of bases and colours was subsequently expanded. Over the course of the following decade, the Fiberglass Chairs became one of the best known furniture designs of the twentieth century.


Eames Fiberglass Chair Colour Set © Vitra International AG
Eames Fiberglass Chair - Details © Vitra International AG

Vitra manufactures the Eames Fiberglass Chairs by Charles and Ray Eames in six of the original colours. The versions with a polypropylene shell – the Eames Plastic Chairs– also remain available. Together the two chair groups form an extensive family, enabling countless variations of the classic Eames design, with a suitable version for almost every taste and purpose.

Shop the Eames Fiberglass Chair collection here today.

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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.

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