The Great Charles and Ray Eames

Ray and Charles Eames selecting slides for an exhibition in 1968

Ray and Charles Eames selecting slides for an exhibition in 1968 – Original source.

I am delighted to be guest posting on Sett Design. At Design Debate I just love talking about all aspects of design, anything that intrigues, excites or creates a smile. Today I thought I would write a post in praise of the Eames chairs – such a successful partnership that produced classic pieces of furniture that have stood the text of time. Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988) Eames were partners in life as well as design, they married in 1941. Charles was reportedly dismissed from studying architecture at the Washington University of St. Luis for being ‘too modern’ in his views. Their creative backgrounds came together to create something quite special; Charles had been studying architecture, and Ray came from a abstract art, textiles and film background. The Eames name is associated with many iconic chairs of the 20th Century.

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Interior design featuring Eames chair design – Original source.

Their first big break came in 1942 when the US navy placed an order for 5,000 splints that they had made from a mould of Charles’ own leg. Their continual experiments in plywood allowed them to create the Plywood Chair in 1945.

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Interior design featuring Eamse chair design – Original source.

Moving on from plywood, they created furniture in fibreglass, plastic, aluminium, and for the 1956 Lounge Chair, a gift for director Billy Wilder, used leather and a rich plywood.

Eames mustard yellow chair

Interior design featuring Eames chair design – Original source.

The flexibility of fibreglass lead to the construction of the Eames plastic armchair. First presented in 1948 at the New York Museum of Modern Art’s ‘Low cost furniture design’ competition. The comfortable shell, made of fibreglass-reinforced plastic, was combined with a variety of bases to create different looks. This versatility was key, they believed “design is a method of action,” and continually updated their work as new materials became available. “The chair that Charles and Ray were designing,” explains grandson Eames Demetrios, “is the chair that’s made tomorrow.”

Selection of Eames chair designs

Selection of Eames chair designs – Original source.

 

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman – Original source.

The couple loved their work, to them it was a combination of art and science, design and architecture, process and product, style and function. “The details are not details,” said Charles, “They make the product.”

Architecture created by Eames

The home that Charles and Ray designed for themselves – Original source.

 

2014 Classic Chair Design Calendar

2014 calendar featuring classic chair design – Original source.

You can’t fail to find an example of their iconic design in the wealth of classy interior shots on the internet. I just love the form and the real sense of fun in their designs. The ‘Lounge Chair’ and the ‘Molded Plastic Dowel-Leg Side Chair’ are captured in their simplicity in this wall calendar by graphic design company Pickle Design.

Emma Julian.

Eames chair design

Eames chair design – Original source.

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