The 111 Navy Chair is an outcome of the very successful, albeit unusual, collaboration between two companies that at the first glance have nothing in common – The Electrical Machine and Equipment Company, a low-scale designer furniture manufacturer from Hanover, Pennsylvania and The Coca-Cola Company, a multibillion soft-beverage corporation known in every corner of the world. The two companies joined their forces in a creation process of the plastic descendant of the Emeco’s most well-known product – the iconic 1006 Navy Chair.
Although the beginnings of the famous ten-O-six date back more than seven decades into the past, its plastic variation came about just a couple of years ago. The story began in 2006 when Coca-Cola started looking for the possible ways of reusing the plastic bottles used for packaging of its products. A significant role in the team-up process between the two companies was played by Paola Antonelli, the senior Curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York who recommended Emeco as a potential partner because of its reputation of a company valuing sustainability and durability of its products, which was vital for the project aiming to help saving the natural environment by reducing the amount of waste.
Even though the main purpose of the venture may sound relatively straightforward - producing a chair from the recycled plastic bottles - it took nearly four years of research and testing, as well as required the involvement of the world’s largest chemical company - BASF – which helped to develop the injection molding technique fit to use with the plastic rescued from the landfills. The ready chair, named 111 Navy Chair, had its world premiere at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2010.
While looking at the 111 Navy Chair its affinity becomes instantly apparent. The external appearance of the chair is identical to its famous ancestor - the 1006 Navy Chair, the design of which was forged in the heat of the World War II by Wilton C. Dinges in 1944 as an answer to the US Navy’s demand for lightweight, high-strength warships furniture. The main principle of the chair was to survive severe, salty environment of the US Navy vessels. The design of the chair was not about style or chic. Tt was about a purpose. It had to last. The simplistic, clean form, dictated predominantly by its function, is at the same time esthetic and elegant. The fact that the design of the chair has not been changed over the course of more than 70 years of its production is the irrefutable proof that the ten-O-six is a true icon of the American industrial design. The chair is made of 12 aluminum pieces, mostly bent profiles with rectangular cross-sections and filleted corners, welded together; serving as the main structural component of the chair. The sit pan is derriere-shaped in order to make the chair more comfortable. The external appearance of the chair was passed on its plastic descendant in unchanged form. Although the 111 Navy Chair looks the same as its sturdy ‘grandpa’, materials and the manufacturing process utilized for its production are fundamentally different. Instead of rolled and forged aluminum, the 111 Navy Chair is made from rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) which constitutes 65% of the chair’s weight. The remaining 35% is the glass fiber added to improve the structural strength. The chair has a satin surface finish which makes the chair less susceptible to scratches. It is available in 6 different colors: Red, Grass Green, Snow, Flint Gray, Charcoal and Persimmon.