If you know anything about mid-20th-century design, you’ll have heard of American designers Charles and Ray Eames. For forty years, the husband and wife made a breakthrough impact on modern architecture, furniture, industrial design, manufacturing, and photographic art. They also applied their minds to remarkable things like puzzles, exhibitions, magazine covers, toys, film and more.
- Charles Eames was made to leave university
When he was a young man, Eames guaranteed a scholarship in architecture from Washington University in his home town of St. Louis. However, his absolute love of and faith in the practices of Frank Lloyd Wright made his tutors angry and he was told to leave after only two years of study.
- Their first studio was in the bedroom
When the couple bought their first apartment in Los Angeles, they straight away converted their spare room into a workshop. This is where they would build their home-made molding machine – “Kazam” – which they would feed wood and glue that Charles took home from the MGM movie studio where worked as a set architect. This molding machine would be responsible for some of the couple’s most iconic pieces, such as the Eames Eiffel Chair. Get a stylish replica today from https://www.pash-classics.com/eames-eiffel-chair/
- They designed cutting edge leg splints for soldiers
Prior to the implementation of their pioneering techniques for molding plywood furniture designs, they used it to develop emergency splints for hurt WWII soldiers (as well as stretchers and experimental glider shells). This functional device was lightweight and cheap to mass manufacture and, being modular, could be easily and cheaply transported.
- The house that became their life’s work
The Eames’ celebrated home, The Eames House was built in 1947 as part of a case study of 25 houses built and furnished using materials and techniques that came from the experiences of World War II. Very light and simple, its design was specifically tailored to meet their everyday needs. The house and studio were meant to provide a ‘backdrop to life in work’ and the couple did, in fact, live there all their lives.
- They did not do “formal”
Such as their home, Charles and Ray preferred to dress in a laid-back, practical manner that reflected their personalities and taste. Charles wore neutral colours, open-neck casual shirts, and slacks, while Ray preferred short-sleeved shirts and full, long skirts that were considered ‘bohemian’ in style.
- They were great collaborators
The Eames were always open to cooperation, examples being their collaboration with Vitra and Herman Miller. As well as this, they enjoyed a long-term relationship with IBM, for whom they made films and designed exhibitions. But one of the most favorites of their collaborations was more impromptu. The Eames’s became firm friends with the illustrator S. Steinberg and his wife. Steinberg visited their studio in 1950 and began some spontaneous doodling. He drew on some chairs and even walls in a typical linear style. The Eames’s so valued these playfully defaced objects that they staged a photoshoot to celebrate the illustrator’s work!