An Icon Goes Green

Sep 1, 2022

First launched in 1950, the Eames Molded Plastic Chair is practically synonymous with Herman Miller. Its unique yet familiar silhouette can be found nearly anywhere on earth. The surprisingly comfortable chair is an icon of mid-century design that lives on today and Herman Miller is adding a new chapter to its story - the classic Eames Shell chairs will now be made with 100% post-industrial recycled plastic.

The Shell Chair was initially introduced in a fiberglass material, and then a molded plastic in 2006, but now the whole collection of Eames Plastic Chairs will be “made using 100% post-industrial recycled plastic — the equivalent of approximately 122 tons of plastic per year and a 15% carbon reduction annually for the beloved product line.” Not only is this a move in the right direction for our planet, but it's a milestone of innovation for MillerKnoll. Plus, you can feel good about purchasing sustainable, yet classic, furniture originally conceived of by design giants Charles and Ray Eames.

“Ray and Charles Eames embraced a spirit of continuous reinvention for the Molded Plastic Chair, especially in developing the use of sustainable materials with each iteration,” said Ben Watson, President, Herman Miller. “Herman Miller is honoring that design legacy with the introduction of an Eames Molded Plastic Chair made from 100% recycled plastic, and we will continue to challenge ourselves to pursue meaningful, responsible change.”

Not only are the new chairs undergoing the eco-friendly change to recycled plastic, but Herman Miller is celebrating the milestone with a fun, new collection of shell colors. Don’t worry, they’re keeping the classic Black, White and Red, but they’re adding a rainbow of colors including, Evergreen, Cocoa, Deep Yellow, Brick Red, Pale Blue, Medium Grey, Blue Green, Grey Green, and Light Grey. These modern hues were carefully selected so that the chair can continue to be successfully incorporated into a multitude of spaces for decades to come.

“Part of responsible design is first making things that will last. The second part is always looking for ways we can improve our designs to make the world more sustainable and equitable for all,” says Watson. “It’s no coincidence Herman Miller pieces like Eames Shell Chairs are often passed down among families or become coveted vintage pieces.”

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