Thursday, August 23, 2012

Celebrating Design History

Beginning scene from their film "Powers of Ten"
This August we’re celebrating Charles and Ray Eames. For all of the Eames lovers like us, you probably know both Charles and Ray passed away on the same date, August 21st, exactly ten years apart. 

In an article written for Vogue in 1959, Alene Talmey wrote “They are intensely practical. They work as partners, both designers, both filmmakers, both at ease in their life.” This unique connection to each other and to the world of design inspired us to take a closer look at their story.

It all started with a chair. Ray Kaiser, with a background in abstract expressionism, met Charles Eames at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She was commissioned to create sketches and models of Charles’ chair design for an upcoming competition. A year later, in 1941, they married and moved their life to Los Angeles, California. At the time, the traditional armchair was tired and boring. Charles and Ray set out to re-design it, leaving behind all upholstery and cushions. Their one-piece plastic moulding, called “The Shell” hit the market and before they knew it, their goal of making “affordable, practical, beautiful design available to the masses” was a reality – Herman Miller began manufacturing their furnishings.

Most people know Charles and Ray for their home furnishings, but they dabbled in just about everything. With furniture design came other industrial matters, like toys. “The Plywood Elephant” for example was strong enough for kids to play on, but doubled as a sleek sculpture that parents could appreciate too. Genius! They are also known for outstanding contributions in film, photography, exhibition, and architecture. It’s safe to say, they saw beauty in everything around them, and offered ground-breaking progress for the future of modern mid-century design.­

Charles once said…
“Any time one or more things are consciously put together in a way that they can accomplish something better than they could have accomplished individually, this is an act of design”. He must have been talking about his life with Ray, because together this duo was dynamic.

See more about the unique story of Charles & Ray Eames in the documentary “Eames: The Architect and The Painter” – definitely worth watching!
Charles and Ray showing their sense of humor!
Charles and Ray in front of their house in the Pacific Palisades, CA
The Wire Chair, produced by Herman Miller until 1967
Herman Miller catalogue showcasing Eames' chair designs

The Eames Plywood can buy it here!
The Eames House (also know as Case Study #8) is located in Pacific Palisades
 and is definitely worth a visit
The Eames living room on display during the LACMA "California Design" exhibit

1 comment:

  1. Wow is just the simple word that may explain that how much I liked it. It was nicely stuffed with the material I was looking for. It’s great to be here though by chance.