Emeco, which calls itself “the Aluminum Chair Company,” will formally unveil its first all-plastic chair at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile Wednesday in Milan. Called the 111 Navy chair, it is produced from 111 (or more) recycled Coca-Cola bottles. It will be sold in the U.S. through Design Within Reach beginning next month.
It took two years to develop the 111 Navy, a replica of the 1944 classic all-aluminum Navy 1006 chair, which Emeco developed for ships during World War II. Legend holds that the contours of the seat were inspired by pinup Betty Grable’s shapely derriere.
The 111 Navy is a hollow one-piece injection-molded chair made from 60% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic with glass fiber reinforcement. It weighs in at just under 13 pounds, nearly twice as heavy as the 7-pound aluminum version.
Happily, it costs almost half as much — only $230 compared with the $415 made-in-the-U.S.-from-recycled-aluminum version. Emeco and Coca-Cola hope to recycle some 3 million bottles annually to produce the chairs.
Of the six available colors, the Coca-Cola red, snow and flint gray can be used indoors or out. The grass, persimmon and charcoal may fade in direct sun and are not recommended for outdoors.
The 111 Navy sits on feet with semi-frosted transparent polycarbonate glides that give it a floating appearance. The semi-gloss finish and a subtle texture give the surface a feel somewhere between an eggshell and the skin of an orange, says Magnus Breitling, Emeco’s director of product management. “It is more temperature-friendly,” he adds. “It is not as cool to the touch as the aluminum chair and doesn’t get as warm in the sun.”