Chairs made of plastic
In 1948, the first seat shells are designed by Charles and Ray Eames. In 1950 they go into production. They are made of fiberglass using a patent of the company "Zenith Plastics'. With the help of this special procedure the company manufactured during world war 2 aircraft radar domes. DAR - Dining Armchair Rod - is the first chair where the seat, back and armrests are made of a single, three-dimensionally molded fiberglass shell. The shell could be mounted on six different bases. Shell and base are not directly bolted together, but welded with so called shock mounts. Maximum loads are so not transferred directly onto the plastic material and the result is a slightly flexible chair.
1956 Verner Panton (1926-1998) designed a cantilever chair, which was formed entirely of only one single plywood sheet, the S-Chair. But it took ten years until the technology was available to build it. The S-Chair was offered in two designs: model 275 and model 276. Manufacturer was the "Sommer" company. "Thonet Frankenberg" financed the molds and took over distribution. Due to the high price it was sold only in small numbers.
The sketch for the "Panton Chair" dates from 1958, but ten years later, with the development of new synthetic materials, it finally comes to mass production. The first version of this stackable chair was still produced in the casting process, elaborately reworked and painted. From 1969, this model was produced by injection molding. The plastic granulate is already dyed and finally treatment, as in the first series, is no longer necessary.
The idea of a stackable cantilever chair in plastic tracked a number of designers in the late 60s and early 70s. All are based more or less on the epochal "Panton Chair": Steen Østergaards "Cado 290" made of glass fiber reinforced polyamide, as well as Ernst Moeckl "kangaroo" chair from 1968 and "Casala" by Alexander Begge. Claus Uredat designs in 1971 "Targa" a free-swinging chair, which, like most plastic furniture, is also suitable for outdoor use.
The Panton chair was the first cantilever, that was made entirely of plastic. But the first chair made of plastic he was not at all: this was the so-called "Bofinger" chair: A one-piece, reinforced polyester resin chair presented in 1966 at the Cologne Furniture Fair. He was developed in 1964 and 1965 for additional seating of the new building of the State Theatre in Karlsruhe by the engineering firm Bätzner / Helmut Bätzner. The stability is not achieved by appropriate material thicknesses, but through folds and grooves of the plastic. This principle is also found in the model "Selene", designed in 1969 by Vico Magistretti.