Few names in this world are as synonymous with their industry – or, for that matter, with a certain style – as Charles and Ray Eames are with furniture. Still, if anyone comes close it could well be Herman Miller – the inventor of the office cubicle (which may or may not be such a good thing) and pioneer of “office furniture” as a concept, whose namesake company owns distribution rights to the husband and wife team’s work.
Instantly recognizable in form, Eames chairs are held in such regard – and remain so highly sought-after – that, almost 70 years later, copycat “Eames-style chairs” are now ubiquitous, flooding the low-cost furniture market. (So much so that, in Christopher Nolan’s 2010 movie “Inception,” a character known as the “The Forger” was given the tongue-in-cheek mononym “Eames.”)
Still, the real deal is unmistakable. As is real, progressive and pioneering design. That Eames style and next-generation materials should have their chance to come together, then, seems almost natural. Chronologically unlikely, sure, but – nonetheless – somehow right regardless.
Using Natural Fiber Welding’s MIRUM material – an industry-leading, plant-based and entirely plastic-free alternative to animal-based leather – sustainable and ethical refurbishment expert Drew Veloric has brought a 1968 version of the classic Herman Miller Eames lounge chair firmly into the present day.
A 1-of-1 piece, the chair – which is rosewood framed and accompanied by a matching ottoman foot stool – uses coconut and natural rubber for the cushion and has been reupholstered with MIRUM to create what Veloric calls the “first ever green Eames” and “the most sustainable Eames lounge chair and ottoman ever made as of 2023.”
A “historically accurate” restoration, the upcycled Eames chair is “plastic free, vinyl free, polyurethane free, animal free,” but remains stylistically unchanged from its original design – overseen Fran Trainor, proprietor of Studio 670 Repair, to ensure the classic piece of furniture retained its integrity.
Interestingly, while Veloric’s main focus remains on fashion and footwear, this isn’t the first time that the designer and restoration expert has turned his hand and his eye to furniture. Previous offerings from Veloric’s Pennsylvania-based studio include a pair of stainless steel Mies van de Rohe Barcelona chair frames, reupholstered with Ananas Anam‘s pineapple-based PIÑATEX, a Mies van der Rohe MR10 Swing Chair, reworked with VEGEA grape skin leather, and a George Nelson chair from Herman Miller, with 100% PIÑATEX upholstery and coconut coir backing.
Of course, while genuine Eames chairs have a substantial price tag as is, unique pieces like this don’t come cheap. And, of course, they shouldn’t. That’s kind of the point. In this case, though, the MIRUM Eames chair and ottoman are currently available for $20,000 USD on Veloric’s official website.
And, in other MIRUM-related news, check out NFW’s recent collaboration with PANGAIA – the first piece of scalable apparel made with the plant-based material.