The range of Plastic Chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames are amongst the most recognised chair designs of the 20th Century . One model has always stood out among the myriad of combinations of organically shaped shells and various bases in this large family of chairs: the iconic RAR (Rocking Armchair Rod Base).
‘Getting the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least’: with these words, Charles and Ray Eames described one of their main goals as furniture designers. None of their other designs come as close to achieving this ideal as the Plastic Chairs.
The RAR (Rocking Armchair Rod) designed 1948-1950. For years, the designer couple explored the fundamental idea of a one-piece seat shell moulded to fit the contours of the human body. After experiments with plywood and sheet aluminium in the 1940s produce unsatisfactory results, their search for alternative materials led them to glass-fibre reinforced polyester resin.
The Eameses recognised and fully exploited the advantages of the material: mouldability, rigidity, pleasant tactile qualities, suitability for industrial manufacturing methods. With this material, which was previously unknown in the furniture industry, they successfully developed the shell designs for serial production. After their debut at the ‘Low-Cost Furniture Design’ competition organised by the Museum of Modern Art in 1948, the Plastic Armchair (A-shell) and Plastic Side Chair (S-shell) were launched on the market in 1950 as the very first mass-produced plastic chairs in the history of furniture.
Today Vitra manufactures the comfortable seat shells of the Eames Plastic Chairs in polypropylene, while those of the reintroduced Eames Fiberglass Chairs are produced in glass-fibre reinforced polyester resin. There is also a wide choice of bases and shell colours, along with countless upholstery options making the range of chairs completely customisable to the users needs.
As part of the latest Home Stories campaign Vitra have introduced two Special edition’s of the RAR which will be available until the end of 2019, the first option is with a seat shell basalt, dark maple sledges, fully upholstered in Credo 25 mother of pearl/black with piping in black and in contrast the other is with seat shell creme, golden maple sledges, fully upholstered in Credo 18 pale rose/cognac with piping in white.