Case Study Shell Spyder Walnut/Maple by Modernica (Made in USA)
The Fiberglass Shell Chair is easily one of the most important and recognizable designs of the twentieth century. They were originally designed in 1948, as an entry in The Museum of Modern Art’s International Design Competition. At the time, no one could possibly have anticipated the massive success and longevity of this iconic design. The Spyder™ base is made of 16 layers of North American wood molded to perfection. It consists of two intersecting spars constructed of maple ply, contoured between 2 layers of walnut veneer, and finished with a protective satin coat.
Manufactured by Modernica, in Los Angeles. US patent pending.
In the early fifties, fiberglass was considered an ultra-high tech material. Produced with a mixture of resin and glass fibers, it was lightweight, yet heavy-duty. Initial development and production was through Zenith Plastics—early pioneers of developing fiberglass for household and military applications. As for the chair bases, they were cleverly designed to provide a number of leg options that would be interchangeable within and between the arm shell and the side shell. The shell chairs were first available in the spring of 1950. The first runs of the chairs were produced in only three colors; griege, elephant-hide gray, and parchment—all of which had interesting translucent qualities. The chairs were distributed until 1983.
In 2000, Modernica revived this potentially lost art of high-pressure, molded fiberglass. Modernica creates each shell, by hand, one-by-one, in our Los Angeles factory—just as they had been designed, developed, and produced in Southern California in the 1950s. Modernica uses all of the original presses and specialized equipment obtained from Century Plastics. To ensure authenticity of production, the initial shell chair production was overseen by Sol Fingerhut and Irv Green, the same team employed over sixty years ago to develop the original technology. Modernica creates each chair with the charge of adhering to the original tactile qualities, texture, and characteristics that alone are unique to the fiberglass shell chair. Our historic equipment has created thousands of chairs for three generations of chair lovers — and everyday Modernica continues to produce beautiful chairs for upcoming generations. Choose from a wide range of shell colors and chair base options. Modernica offers the flexibility to build a chair to suit your individual style and needs. Made in California.
32.5"H x 18.5"W x 21.5"D