Design Classic: Emeco Chairs

Design Classic: Emeco Chairs

Adrienne Breaux
Sep 17, 2012

If you want to buy hip, modern furniture from a brand that truly epitomizes American values — of hard work, high quality and innovation — look to oft-overlooked Emeco. With a rich history of focused design, thinking outside of the box led to a company that reveres its classic designs but continually reinvents itself with new products, too.

Emeco stands for the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company, founded in 1944 by Wilton Carlyle Dinges. Local craftsman have always been the backbone of this company, located in Hanover, Pennsylvania. WWII brought a huge request from the U.S government: they needed lightweight but strong chairs that could withstand water, salt air and sailors. And they had to last a lifetime. Emeco took the challenge, creating their now famous Navy Chair, which they call the "Ten-o-six," because the chair was given the number 1006 when it was first designed. It takes forming, welding, grinding, heat-treating, and finishing — 77 steps in all — to make one aluminum Emeco chair.

"No one else makes chairs this way. No one can. It takes a human eye to know when the process is done right, and it takes human hands to get it that way. Our goal: make recycling obsolete and keep making things that last."

When Gregg Buchbinder took over Emeco in 1998, he respected the long tradition the company had of making chairs used so successfully in industrial and institutional spaces, but he knew this furniture had more potential. When he noticed that Philippe Starck had used Navy Chairs in the redesign of the Paramount Hotel in New York in the 1990s, it cemented the idea of Emeco's work as design classics — and a lucrative collaboration began between the famous French designer and Emeco that has led to a number of amazing chair designs that build on the company's simple historic design traditions but innovate and freshen with new lines and new style. See the entire body of Emeco's offerings on their website.

1) Navy® Chair & 111 Navy® Chair
2) Image of 111 Navy® Chairs in action
3) Navy® Semi-upholstered Swivel Chair
4) Broom Chair
5) Navy® Chair with Natural Wood Seat

6) 1951™ Stacking Chair
7) 20-06™ Counter Stool
8) 20-06™ Armchair
9) Lancaster Dining Table
10) Hudson Rocking Chair

What do you think of Emeco's industrial, simple, classic style?

(Images: Emeco)

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