The Eames Molded Fiberglass Chair was originally designed in 1950 by husband and wife design duo Charles and Ray Eames, and was manufactured by Herman Miller. This mid-century modern classic has been a fixture in the design world for years, and is loved by many. The fiberglass chair was discontinued in 1980, but next week, Herman Miller is reintroducing the Eames Molded Fiberglass Chair!
Last fall, the EQ3 Winnipeg store hosted Eames Design Thinking: 36 Years On – a design event featuring keynote speaker Eames Demetrios, Director of The Eames Office and the grandson of Charles and Ray Eames. We were thrilled to see local architects, designers, and design buffs line up outside the EQ3 store, eager for the doors to open, but when we spotted Emil (a local engineering student) standing in line with a vintage Eames Shell Chair tucked under his arm…well, we got really excited!
He brought the chair in the hopes of getting it signed by Eames Demetrios. Eames was very gracious, and before his presentation, he wrote out a personal note for Emil on the chair’s back rest. Emil was on a real high as he walked away from his meeting with Eames. It was a fun little scene to watch.
“It’s just a chair that I’ve been familiar with for a very long time,” says Emil when we asked him about the personal history of the chair. It was Emil’s first Eames Chair, and it’s been in his family for years. His mother had owned one of these iconic chairs back in the 50’s or 60’s, but had misplaced it (most likely when she moved to Canada). When she spotted the chairs again here in the city, she just fell in love with them. Emil wound up finding this one in a dumpster and brought it home for her, knowing how much it would mean to her. It was an amazing find, as a vintage shell chair like this can sell for upwards of four or five hundred dollars…sometimes more! But Emil seemed much more interested in the personal significance the chair holds, than in it’s monetary value. “These chairs have been part of our family for a really long time,” says Emil.
Emil had recently moved into his first apartment and his mom encouraged him to take the chair with him. He had been using it as his desk chair, but joked that he wouldn’t be doing that anymore, not after Eames signed it. Just in our brief interaction with Emil, it was clear that his love for these chairs and the Eameses legacy runs deep. We know that Emil’s not the only one who feels this way.
For more information on Eames Demetrios, or on Charles and Ray, watch these short clips from EQ3’s exclusive interview with Eames or read our review of Eames Demetrios’ book An Eames Primer!