Arguably one of the 20th century’s most beloved designs, the Eames Shell Chair has wormed its way into our collective consciousness to become both a coveted piece of design history and, quite simply, a beautiful, accessible design that is exemplary of the Eameses’ desire to make “the best for the most for the least.”
Charles and Ray Eames are icons in the design world. Their modern work in film, graphic design, fine art, and architecture is still celebrated today, and their furniture designs are still produced. Though production methods have changed since the original shell chairs were created, this 1970 Eames film for manufacturer Herman Miller, The Fiberglass Chairs: Something of how they get the way they are, showcases the work they put into their pieces.
Herman Miller also shared ‘Shell Shorts’ of how they’re made in 2014:
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3. Resin is applied to preform ??????????? The fiberglass preform is set in a cradle. Workers weigh the resin to an exact amount on a scale, and then pour the resin over the fiberglass preform deftly coating and smoothing over the shell systematically with a tool by hand. #shellshorts #shellspotting #WHYHM
Related reading: The history of the Eames Molded Plastic Chairs.
Watch more Eames short films on this site, including Mathematica – A World of Numbers… and Beyond, The Solar Do-Nothing Machine, Tops, and the classic Powers of Ten. Then watch more videos about how things are made.