A closer look at the hottest solutions from February
Staff -- Interior Design, 2/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
To reproduce Charles and Ray Eames's fiberglass Shell chairs, Los Angeles manufacturer Modernica revived a technique from 1950. "It's a high-tech process, but there's an element of handworking and eyeballing," says co-owner Frank Novak. First, white glass fibers are made in what Novak jokingly likens to a cotton-candy machine: "It's very Willy Wonka." Modernica then creates a fiberglass preform—in approximately the shape of the finished seat, minus the strength—and checks carefully for consistency. The approved preforms are laid in a two-part steel mold, over which resin is poured from a saucepan. (A robot is being developed for more efficient distribution.) Subjected to 40 tons of pressure in the heated mold, each resulting chair displays a unique surface pattern, remaining faithful to the Eames honesty in materials. "Sit and Stay Awhile," page 132. —J.R.