Fast Company

Coke + Emeco: Get Hitched, Spawn Chairs

Now you can have your Coke and sit on it too.

On the eve of the world's biggest furniture fair, two classic brands--Coca Cola and Emeco, manufacturers of the iconic 106 aluminum Navy chair--are announcing the rainbow-hued progeny of their new collaboration.

Each new Emeco 111 Navy Chair is made of 111 recycled plastic bottles. Over the course of a year, Emeco estimates it will process more than three million PET bottles to produce the product, which will be sold for $230 at Design Within Reach.

Designed in 1944 for the U.S. Navy, the original Emeco chair takes 77 steps to produce and includes a process that alters the aluminum's molecular structure so that it's three times harder than steel.

The new chair won't be quite so tough, but will provide a way for PET to be up-cycled. Each chair will contain a mix of 60% PET and a combination of other materials, including pigment and glass fiber for strength.

"Although re-engineering a core product is a significant investment for us, I was excited...to turn something many people throw away into something you want and can keep for a long, long time," says Gregg Buchbinder, chairman of Emeco.

The chair will come in six colors, chosen by designer (and Fast Company expert blogger) Laura Guido-Clarke: Coca-Cola Red, Snow, Flint, Grass, Persimmon, and Charcoal.

Reached in London on her way to Milan, Guido-Clarke offered this: "The colors needed to complement the form of the chair and the qualities of the new material. Because the chair and Coke are classic, the colors reflect a sense of modern heritage. They connote a sense of history but were pushed enough to feel refreshing." Her personal faves? The charcoal and the green. "And together, they make me really happy!" she said.

On May 1, the collaborators will launch a Web site, www.111navychair.com, to house the "111 Navy Chair Project." The companies will be sending the chairs out to various artists, celebrities and designers for comment, and will post their responses. In other words, stay tuned. And keep recycling responsibly.

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