POST 2: Ray and Charles Eames

Charles & Ray Eames are still regarded as one of Americas greatest design teams. They spent their time creating and inspiring many of the great pieces of architecture, furniture, film and graphic design that we see today. They left there mark on the industry and have left many a new comers gazing in amazement at there simplicity and elegant style.

About Charles Eames

Charles Ormond Eames (June 17, 1907 – August 21, 1978). He learned the basic design skills as a labourer at Laclede Steel Company at which point he decided that design was his true calling.

Charles studied architecture at Washington University. But after two years of study, he decided to leave the university and explore other avenues. He struggled to study and work at the same time so eventually the riggers of this life pushed him into his own architectural practice In 1930.

In 1941 he married his colleague Ray Kaiser from California. The couple moved to California where they lived and worked for the rest of their lives. In California they designed and built the world famous Eames House, which overlooks the Pacific ocean.

About Ray Eames

Born Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser (December 15, 1912 – August 21, 1988) she stands alone as an extremely talented designer in her own right. Ray studied abstract expressionism in New York. She was an accomplished artist, film-maker and designer who when joined with her husband Charles is responsible for many of the 20th century’s most iconic and classic designs.

Charles and Ray Eames: Designers

In the 50s, they pioneered technologies related to furniture and material design. Using plywood and fibreglass, plastic resins and wire mesh to come up with modern and unseen designs. Around the same time they produced their first film the unfinished Traveling Boy in 1950 and also went on to make the extraordinary “Powers of Ten” and “Toccata for Toy Trains”. They used these productions to experiment with modern ideas and movements.

Charles and Ray Eames spent a lot of their time in the office which was used by them for over four decades situated at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, California. This office at most times contained some of the world best designers and his staff included the likes of Harry Bertoia, and Gregory Ain. The latter was Chief Engineer for the Eames’ during World War II.

Many classic Eames furniture pieces were born in this office space, perhaps the greatest works originating there were the molded-plywood DCW Dining Chair Wood and DCM Dining Chair Metal both with the plywood seat (1945), the Eames Lounge Chair (1956), the Aluminum Group furniture office chairs in 1958 and as well as the Eames Chaise lounge in 1968.

Charles’s passed away (from a heart attack) while on a business trip through Saint Louis came as a shock to all in the industry, and he now has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

In the early days only Charles was give the distinction of designing many of the products and Ray was never really mentioned In the Herman Miller catalogues however later research has shown that Ray was very involved in many of the timeless designs and has since been considered an equal partner.

Classic Quotes from Charles Eames

  • “Eventually, everything connects.”
  • “Innovate as a last resort.”
  • “Design is the appropriate combination of materials in order to solve a problem.”
  • “I have never been forced to accept compromises but I have willingly accepted constraints.”
  • “Take your pleasures seriously.”
  • “The details are not the details. They make the design.”
  • “Art resides in the quality of doing, process is not magic.”
  • “Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.”
  • “Ideas are cheap. Always be passionate about ideas and communicating those ideas and discoveries to others in the things you make.”
  • “In architecture the idea degenerated. Design allows a more direct and pleasurable route.”
  • “The details are details. They make the product. The connections, the connections, the connections. It will in the end be these details that give the product its life. “
  • “Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.”
  • “In architecture the idea degenerated. Design allows a more direct and pleasurable route.”,,,,


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