First produced in 1950, the Eames Shell Chair is a prime example of "Make the best for the most for the least," a motto of modernist design legends Charles and Ray Eames. Even though a piece from the Shell Chair series can cost anywhere from about $350 to $1,000 today, the Eameses should be happy to know that the iconic design, with its expansive options (Red! Green! Black! Fiberglass! Plastic! Wood), has undeniably invaded homes, offices, and everything in between, all over the world.
"For Every Need, In Every Way, For Everyone" reads the title of the Herman Miller page dedicated to the Shell Chair and at this moment, it seems like the perfect description of the product. The Shell Chair has been amply deployed in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen/dining areas, dens... not to mention Silicon Valley offices and the new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LAX. It doesn't help that the design has spurred tons of knock-offs over the years, with prices coming in at about a third to a quarter of the cost of an original.
Sure, part of the beauty of modernist furniture is a notion of widespread, practical appeal and timelessness, but it sure feels like we're hitting Peak Shell Chair...where upon seeing yet another one (or a bunch!) show up in a home, we might feel blandness and minor irritation rather than delight. If the photos above don't convey it clearly enough, just take a look at the properties listed on Breather, a new service that lets you reserve "beautiful, practical" spaces on an hourly basis in big cities like New York City and San Francisco.
It's just too much! Too much!
Is there any other modern chair more overexposed than the shell chair right now?
If we must pick runners-up, it may have to be these:
Eames Lounge and Ottoman—Photo via Herman Miller
Bertoia wire chair—Photo via LolaLifestyleMagazine
Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair—Photo via Remodelista
But what do you think?
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