Modernica Side Chair with Maple Dowel Base (Made in USA)
The Case Study Fiberglass Dowel Chair is an essential for the modern home and with so many options—it is possible to create your own one-of-a-kind chair. The shell is available in a myriad of colors. Choose your wire-frame in either zinc-plated steel or black powder-coated steel, and finish your design by choosing either solid maple dowels or solid walnut dowels.
Easily one of the most important and recognizable designs of the twentieth century, the Fiberglass Shell Chairs were originally designed by Charles Eames 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 iconoclastic design.
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. At the time it was the inherent nature of this material that was the solution Eames needed in order to construct his ideals. 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 by Herman Miller and were available in their product line until 1983. Subsequently in 2003, Herman Miller introduced a modified version of the chair made of polypropylene.
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 by the Eames Office, here 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 Charles Eames employed over sixty years ago to develop the original technology.
Modernica is committed to the legacy of the authentic genuine design of Charles Eames. 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.
Handcrafted in Los Angeles, U.S.A