In 1948, as New York struggled to accommodate a rapidly swelling population amid a post-war housing shortage, The Museum of Modern Art anticipated the need for low-priced, high-quality furniture, and created the International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design to "commission and challenge the best design brains in the world to satisfy this long-felt need."
One of the competition's winners, Charles Eames, wowed the esteemed jury twice. First, by developing an extraordinarily graceful form in stamped metal that took second place when the jury announced its decision in January 1949. However, by the time the jury re-assembled for the opening in June 1950, Charles, along with his wife and longtime collaborator Ray, had left stamped metal behind, along with its costs and cold feeling to the skin, and presented a fiberglass chair that succeeded in accomplishing their goal of making "the best for the most for the least." Indeed, the Eames had already launched the chair at the Good Design Show, which MoMA co-sponsored and was held in Chicago in January 1950.
With its graceful curves, extraordinary luster and softness, and its elegant and unconventional use of fiberglass, the chair was lauded by the panel who said of it, "chairs with complicated molded curves like this have always presented a special problem in the attachment of legs, but this time the problem has been solved with unusual directness and neatness."
The Eames continued to push the boundaries of what the shell chair could be throughout their careers, first with single-form plywood and stamped metal, and later with fiberglass and plastics.
When it was discovered that fiberglass production could be harmful to the environment, Herman Miller halted production, and, in the Eames' spirit, began to explore experimental processes and evolving materials that could be produced en masse without ecological repercussions.
Thanks to a new monomer-free, "dry bind" process of producing fiberglass, Herman Miller is once again able to produce the Eames' icon faithfully and safely. The new fiberglass finish has the same subtle variegation that collectors have coveted for decades. With a deep bucket seat and smooth, "waterfall" edges, the chair's ergonomic contours hug the body for maximum comfort.
The chair model names reference their core attributes in the form of playful acronyms: DFSR stands for "dining-height fiberglass side chair with rod" base, and DFSW stands for "dining-height fiberglass side chair with wood" base." Choose between a sleek wooden base and a lightweight, sculptural wire base that exhibits the Eames' classic design. Available in eight semi-gloss shades that were taken from the Eames' original palette. Made in the USA. 31.8h x 18.5w x 21"d Seat: 17"h