Founded more than 25 years ago, Modernica makes furniture out of all sorts of materials, but it’s perhaps best-known for its use of fiberglass. The company’s fiberglass-molded chairs, modeled after a 1950s design by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller, are made with the same materials and molds as those early mid-century examples. In fact, these chairs could make a claim to be more “authentic” than Herman Miller’s own products today — but not without a fair bit of controversy.
On account that it was completely unrecyclable, Herman Miller and Ray Eames deemed the Eameses’ original fiberglass plastic damaging to the environment, ceasing production in 1989. A re-released version made with polypropylene, a fully-recyclable thermoplastic known for durability and versatility, has been available since 2013.
An original fiberglass chair mold at Modernica’s Los Angeles campus.
Meanwhile, Modernica was making the original chair with the original fiberglass plastic from the original molds, a practice that has resulted in several ongoing legal battles between them and Herman Miller.
Regardless of where you fall on questions of authenticity, environment-friendly design or IP theft, you can’t call Modernica’s line of fiberglass chairs a half-assed attempt at mid-century nostalgia — they’re high-quality chairs, made the old-fashioned way and unlike anything else out there. If you want one, the entire lot of them is marked down 15 to 25 percent off right now.
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