Some furniture purchases are like gifts that keep on giving. Every time you see them or use them you pat yourself on the back for making such a wise investment. My fiberglass shell chairs with wooden dowel legs are one of those purchases. Sure, they are ubiquitous and bordering on (if not a full-fledged) a design cliche these days. But I remain smitten.
After I bought our Saarinen tulip table I spent months agonizing over which chairs to buy. The minute I laid eyes on these chairs from Modernica I knew my search was over. The wooden legs lend a softness to the modern, ergonomic sleekness of the fiberglass and echo my kitchen's warm wood floors. The contrast of the wooden legs with the synthetic seat also makes this version of the shell chair an ideal addition to any eclectic or transitional decor. With a small, non-pedestal table, the metal criss-cross rods of the base might be too busy for my taste. But with the tulip table, the chairs' legs cast a geometric playfulness that lights up the bare space that encircles the table's pedestal base.
Of course, I could have gone with the Herman Miller Eames molded plastic chair. Apartment Therapy readers have already compared the two chairs, sparking some heated debates about intellectual property and authenticity. The Herman Miller shell chairs are the only “authentic” versions in terms of name registration and licensing and are made of "a more ecologically supportable material, recyclable polypropylene," according to Herman Miller, Inc. But, it should also be noted that the Modernica chairs are authentic in terms of materials and production: After Herman Miller stopped using fiberglass, Modernica bought the machines and uses much of the same materials once used in the original Herman Miller version. Personally, I prefer the fiberglass version to the molded plastic because it looks and feels sturdier and bolder.
The Herman Miller shell chairs are available at a number of retailers, including Design Within Reach, All Modern, Room and Board, and Velocity Art and Design.
• 1 My Modernica chairs. The kids fight over the armchair, which is big enough for both of them and spins around. Catrin & Chris's "New Traditional" in Woodley Park.
• 2 A lovely practical desk chair at Design Milk.
• 3 Cool Design Details at The Room & Board Store Opening.
• 4 Brightly colored reproductions using rigid acrylic seat tops at Lovers Lounge.
• 5 Design Blossom.
• 6 Grass Roots Modern.
• 7 Vintage orange Eames chair in Eli & Jessica's Comforting Cambridge Condo.
• 8 Desire to Inspire.
• 9 The chairs in a room designed by Chicago-based decorator Buckingham ID via Desire to Inspire.
• 10 Design Blossom.