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Design classics – Emeco Navy Chair

January 1, 2012

After a short break for New Year we are back blogging and today we are adding another design classic to our monthly series. For January we are featuring the Emeco Navy Chair.

The chair was originally created for the destroyers of the US Navy with the first one made in the 1940’s during Word War II. With a brief to design a chair that could survive a torpedo hit on the destroyer it’s good to know they are still around nearly 70 years later! The strong construction and the curves in the seat make the Navy chair both highly durable and extremely comfortable.

The chairs are still manufactured using a process that has not changed since the first one was made. The chair starts as twelve individual parts that are welded together and then ground and finished to create the seamless look. These are chairs manufactured to last with a life expectancy of 150 years and they come with a lifetime guarantee. The original chairs are available with either a brushed or polished finish.

In 2006 a collaboration between Emeco and Coca Cola resulted in the Emeco 111 Navy Chair. The new chair is manufactured from 111 recycled plastic bottles. Designed to encourage recycling the programme aims to recycle over 3 million bottles a year to make chairs.

The red, snow and flint grey versions of the new chair are suitable for outdoor use and the red one would add a great splash of colour to any exterior. The new versions have a velvet-like finish and are scratch resistant.

With the longevity of the original chair teamed with the environment elements of the new version the Navy Chair deserves its place in our Design classic series. Now you just have to choose which finish and colour you’d like?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2012 9:17 am

    This has to be one of my favourite chairs ever!

    I love the story that when asked by the Navy top brass interviewing him if it was really strong enough for what they needed, Witton Dinges proved the point by tossing the prototype chair out the window.

    They were in a sixth floor office!

    He then headed off to collect the chair. No doubt everyone expected him to return with a pile of pieces and a red face but instead he sat down on the undamaged chair to hear their feedback.


    • January 16, 2012 7:44 pm

      That story is gold as you say Oliver, amazing really isn’t it – shows just how durable these chairs are

  2. January 26, 2012 8:46 pm

    I. Love. This. Chair. And it’s not something that I would usually be drawn to, but I love how it is practical, comfortable, and goes with pretty much ANYTHING. I am still partial to the original, but am also loving the new colors. Thanks for this great post!


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