Due to the technical advancement of modern plastics, Vitra and the Eames family decided to reinstate production of the Eames Plastic Chair in 1998, using polypropylene rather than fibreglass, which had given cause for concern on health and ecological grounds and use of which had been halted by Vitra in 1993.
Charles and Ray Eames were always ahead of the game on environmental issues and the production of the chair in a contemporary plastic accords with their design philosophy. By the end of her life in 1988, Ray Eames was convinced of the environmental damage caused by fibreglass in landfills and was keen to source a new material. Clearly, any continuation of an out of date production process, such as working with fibreglass, runs contrary to the Eames philosophy.
Companies such as Modernica and Dwell have for several years manufactured look-a-likes of the Eames Plastic Chair using this outmoded production method. Statements by Modernica asserting that their production uses the original moulds are incorrect. Modernica simply produce and sell unauthorised look-a-likes of the Eames Plastic Chair.
Eames Demetrios applies a simple rule when it comes to distinguishing between the original and a copy: “I am frequently asked whether it is difficult to tell an authentic Eames design and a copy apart. It isn’t difficult at all. A glance at the label will suffice: in Europe it should read Vitra. If it does, the item is genuine. If the origin of the chair isn’t Vitra, then it also isn’t Eames, period.”