The Ghost Chair that Changed Plastic

Philippe Starck’s ghost chairs have only been around for 8 years, but the book Plastic Dreams – which looks at innovation in plastic design, credits it with changing the way we look at plastic.

“We use it daily, but it is thought of as throwaway and invaluable, when in fact it is very valuable and can be used to do so much. From all of the materials available today, plastic is the most extraordinary,” says Charlotte Fiell, who co-authored Plastic Dreams with her husband Peter. {Independent}

King and Queen Plastic: the Louis Ghost chair (L) and Victoria Ghost chairs (R)

While some design critics have been less than impressed, with one calling the high-end plastic chairs “vainglorious, meretricious crapola,” it’s difficult to deny that the Victoria Ghost chair or Louis Ghost chair bear little resemblance to the lawn chairs or stadium seats that come to mind when you first think of plastic seating.

The chairs, which retail for $330 (the Victoria Ghost chair) and $410 (Louis Ghost armchair) have sold well since their release, at prices that were previously unthinkable for plastic, and have imbued the material with a less disposable quality that has made permanent plastic furniture seem like less of an oxymoron.

With less than 4% of the 200 million tons of plastic  that is produced every year being recycled, lending a sense of design to plastic may do more for sustainability than we realize. Even if everyone doesn’t agree that plastic does anything for good design.

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