This is awesome. Herman Miller has announced that it will start making the iconic Eames Molded Chair in fiberglass... again. The fiberglass chairs were discontinued from production in 1989 and ever since then, the iconic chairs that decorate modern houses have been made with recyclable polypropylene. But now we're getting back to the good stuff.
First introduced in 1950, Ray Eames decided to discontinue the fiberglass model of the Eames Molded Chair in 1989 because its material chemistry was "detrimental to the environment" and the fiberglass couldn't be recycled. Totally sensible reasons.
Not anymore. Herman Miller has developed a more sustainable way to make fiberglass. The new manufacturing process (which cribs from the car industry) eliminates volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) during production. Herman Miller describes the process of its new fiberglass:
The fiberglass is now formed and processed using a woven, “dry binder” method instead of the traditional “wet” process, eliminating wet glue adhesives and instead relying on a heat-activated, dry polyester. This has also eliminated the need for thermal oxidizers and other environmental control equipment in the production process. Combined with a new “monomer-free” resin, the production process for the new fiberglass chairs is emission-free and creates a safer environment for the workers handling it, as well as a greener, recyclable shell at the end of the chair’s useful life.
Even better, Herman Miller reformulated the color pigments to nail the vintage color options for the new old Eames Molded Chair. The nine vintage color options of the Eames Molded Chair and Side Chair will be available in Summer 2013. They'll come in wire, dowel leg, four leg, stacking and rocking bases.
Here's what the fiberglass version of the Eames Molded Chair looks like: