Featured Image | Image courtesy of Vitra

PDW19 • Spotlight On: The Chair of a Century

For Paris Design Week, The Conran Shop explores the history behind the Eames Plastic Chair from Vitra. The 1950s icon now boasts a refreshed colour palette that is brand new for 2019.

This new edit pays homage to the model’s original colour history, while acknowledging future aspirations. It hosts a vibrant offering of colours, such as sunlight, mustard, pale rose and poppy red.

The husband and wife design duo, Charles and Ray Eames, set out to solve every task with a satisfactory solution. As such, the Eames Shell Chair is more than a piece of furniture – it is a practical solution to everyday life.

The chair dates back to 1948 and was first developed for MoMA’s International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design. The original design featured a stamped metal body as opposed to its current plastic and fibreglass incarnations.

After swapping metal for plastic, the ground-breaking design found its way into a multitude of practical variations. Today, the chair is available in DSR, DSX, DSW, DSS-N, RAR and PACC editions. From office spaces to dining rooms, the Shell Chairs prove to be a beautiful and convenient addition to many environments. This success is owed in part to the intricate, steel-wire Eiffel base option.

Image courtesy of Vitra
A look into a dining table setting | Image courtesy of Vitra

The new Vitra colour palette

The Shell Chair’s refreshed colour palette features six bases and 14 vibrant colourways, making them customisable with over 100,000 combinations.

Les tons neutres | Image courtesy of Vitra
The neutral tones | Image courtesy of Vitra

The neutral tones consist of parchment, white, pebble, raw umber, elephant hide grey, deep black, light grey and granite grey. These balanced hues form a calm and elegant colour palette.

Les tons intermédiaires | Image courtesy of Vitra
The mid tones | Image courtesy of Vitra

The mid tones host ice grey, sea blue, navy blue, forest, sea foam green, mustard, ochre light, ochre dark and rusty orange options. These all add coveted touch of colour to spaces which need brightening up.

Les tons vif | Image courtesy of Vitra
The bright tones | Image courtesy of Vitra

The bright tones are complete with red, red orange, pale rose, green, sunlight and poppy red options. These are intended to add vibrant clarity to all spaces.

A look into the new colours | Image courtesy of Vitra
A look into the new colours | Image courtesy of Vitra

Charles and Ray Eames were dedicated to creating an optimised colour offering. Furthermore, they aspired to curate a neutral colour scheme suitable for every interior setting, from professional to casual.

Vitra wanted to achieve a refreshed colour palette worthy of the Eameses, so it undertook hefty research. Vitra combined research into current demands alongside an exploration into the vintage market and through analysis of colour trend predictions. Furthermore, Vitra honoured the unparalleled skills and outlook of the duo by working closely with the Eames Office.

Today, the Shell Chair range consists of a multitude of fibreglass and plastic options. Vitra constantly expands its collection and as a result will release a brand new model, the LAR, in late 2019. This chair offers long-lasting comfort on a classic Eiffel base and, above all, showcases the refreshed colour palette.

Add a piece of Vitra history to your home with the Plastic Chair Collection, available online and in-store at The Conran Shop.