August 2, 2007

No. Way. Carbon Fiber Shell Rocking Chair By Garageworks Industries


For a lot of Eames Shell Chair lovers, one of the key selling points is its molded fiberglass material, with the glass threads visible like a vintage high-tech woodgrain, which was adapted from WWII-era airplane radar domes by Eames and Zenith Plastics. It's a point totally lost on Herman Miller, who used injection-molded plastic for the reintroduced "original"--or rather, "authorized"--Eames shell chair a few years ago. [To their tremendous credit, LA-based Modernica preserved the original HM molds and equipment and continues to manufacture shell chairs in the OG fiberglass. Though I really hope their dudes just took the facemasks off for the pictures.]

Anyway, fiber. Isn't carbon fiber the technological successor to the Eameses' fiberglass? And doesn't that make Garageworks Industries' carbon fiber shell chair the logical, conceptual heir to the Eameses' "military technology for the comfortable, modern home" legacy? Or am I just saying that because IT'S DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS AND AWESOME?? HOLY CRAP.


"Take your pleasure more seriously." Carbon Fiber shell chairs by Garageworks Industries, no price or availability info [garageworksindustries]



To Herman Miller's credit, one of the reasons they got rid of the fiberglass and substituted polypropylene is that the former is both bad for the environment and a labor hazard (as your comments about the face mask indicate). Polypropylene, on the other hand, is more easily recycled and less dangerous to work with. At least that's their line.

The cynic in me has to point out that HM only manufactures the chair in a potentially recyclable material, but not out of actually recycled polypropelene (aka, soda bottles!). If they were truly committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship, they would go further and use recycled materials. Still, they are a more sustainable furniture company than most and they keep the classics alive.

The garageworks chair does raise an interesting question: what is the "carbon footprint" of carbon fiber?

[good points all around, but I need my righteous ire to keep me warm. -ed.]

Sweet. But what's the price?

there's a short film from the 70s out there somewhere showing HM's whole process of making one the fiberglass shell chairs (although ultimately it gets the naugahyde upholstery, a personal favorite of mine due to how cheap they are around here ---

The film may be on one of the Eames DVDs. Most of the chairs were made by women who looked like my grandma.

[it's on

This is the coolest chairs I have ever seen. Taking the original design concept of strength and durability to another level. It is definitely a lifetime chair.

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