November 18, 2013

Lets talk about - Charles and Ray Eames

Once a month we talk about people we find inspiring, ranging from designers to actors to architects.

Today, it's all about Charles and Ray Eames. While everybody should have at least heard of this name before, we wanted to show a bit of their biography and work.

- Biography -

Charles Eames was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1907. At the age of 14, he first entertained the idea of one day becoming an architect, while he worked as a part-time laborer at a steel company. He briefly studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, but left after two years, some say he was dismissed for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and his interest in modern architects.
In 1929 he married his first wife, Cathering Woermann, who he met at Wachington University. They moved to Michigan in 1938, where he would become a teacher and head of the industrial design department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, after he finished his architecture studies.
In 1941, Charles married his Cranbrook colleague Ray Kaiser. Before her studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, she studied abstract expressionist painting in New York City.

They moved to Los Angeles to live and work. In the late 1940s, they designed and built the Eames Hous as their home. Located upon a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it remains a milestone of modern architecture.

Eames House - ©LIFE
Eames House - © Prints & Photographs Devision B-32 a-m, Library of Congress 
Building of the house - ©Eames Foundation

"The details are not the details; they make the design." - Charles Eames

Ray Eames died in Los Angeles in 1988, ten years to the day after Charles. They are buried next to each other in Calvary Cemetry in St. Louis.

Fun Fact: The Eames furniture has usually been listed as by Charles Eames, but it has become clear that Ray was deeply involved and was an equal partner with her husband in many projects.

- Design -

Charles and Ray Eames pioneered technologies, such as the fiberglass and plastic resin chairs and the wire mesh chairs designed for Herman Miller. The Eames fabrics were mostly designed by Ray, as were the Time-Life Stools. In 1979, the Royal Institute of British Architects awarded Charles and Ray with the Royal Gold Medal. At the time of Charles' death they were working on what became their last production, the Eames Sofa, which went into production in 1984.

Eames Sofa - ©

Charles had a big interest in photography. They channeled this into the production of short films. Their cinematic work was an outlet for ideas, a vehicle for experimentation and education. The couple often produced short films in order to document their interests, such as collecting toys and cultural artifacts on their travels. The films also record the process of hanging their exhibits or producing classic furniture designs. Some of their other films cover more intellectual topics. 

This is the YouTube film of one of their short films, Powers of Ten, made in 1968 but re-released in 1977. In 1998, Powers of Ten, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant".

Here you have some pictures of my favorite designs:

- Plastic Side Chair DSW - Charles and Ray Eames (1950)

© Connox

© Connox
© HusmannHagberg

- Organic Chair - Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen (1940)

© Connox

© Connox

- Plastic Armchair DAW - Charles and Ray Eames (1950)

© Connox
© Connox
© Stadshem

- Lounge Chair and Ottoman - Charles and Ray Eames (1956)

© Connox

- RAR Rocking Armchair - Charles Eames

© Connox
© Stockholm Vitt - Interior Design

- Molded Plywood Dining Chair - Charles and Ray Eames

© Herman Miller
© Herman Miller

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!
Love, Louise

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