Charles and Ray Eames: love in the time of design

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Are you ready?
I have already spoken about this extraordinary couple on my blog, and about some of their most iconic products: do the names DSW and Long Chair mean anything to you?
My eyes light up just thinking about them!
Obviously, I’m talking about Ray and Charles Eames, the most famous design couple.

Credits: vitra.com

Ray was born in Sacramento in 1912, and she studied at Bennett College in Millbrook, New York, then she continued to study painting at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts until 1937.
Charles was also born in 1912 in St. Louis and he studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, until he was expelled as he was considered “too modern”. He then continued to self study and in 1930 he started working in the profession.

Their roads met in 1940 and from then on they travelled along the same path.

In 1939 Charles was invited by Eliel Saarinen (the father of Eero Saarinen, another name that evokes iconic masterpieces) to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he soon became the head of the industrial design department. Whilst he and his students were experimenting with plywood processing, he met Ray in 1940, who in the same period had just moved from New York to continue her studies and broaden her artistic prospects.

Just a few months later they were married and the most beautiful couple in design were born.

Credits: vitra.com

From that point onwards they lived and worked together for their entire lifetime, even if, actually, this exciting merged the categories of life and work together: even physically, because their legendary home – Pacific Palisades, a real hub for designers, architects and artists – also housed their studio.

The house, which is now the headquarter of the Eames foundation, remains intact and can be visited: so, if in the future you find yourself in the Los Angeles area, then this is certainly a must!

Credits: eamesfoundation.org

Charles died on 21st August in 1978. Ray, then became the first archivist and curator of their collective artistic heratige, died suddenly on the day of the tenth anniversary of the death of her husband, on 21st August 1988.

Credits: eamesfoundation.org

Without doubt, we can say that this couple simply revolutionised 20th century design. They gave life to real interior design icons.
Revolutionary aspects are also seen in the way they communicated their work, for example through the short films and visual projections that they used in their exhibitions.

I believe that the tireless creativity of the Eames couple was derived from a particular philosophy that they had and this philosophy has always characterised their work. Their famous mottoDo more with less” is primarily an invitation to discover the fundamental roots and functions of an object, which then  can be exploded from an aesthetic point of view. 

Their philosophy seems like the complete opposite to that of Starck for his Juicy Salif, don’t you think so?

For the Eames’, this way of thinking is translated into functional projects, with an accessible, simple and minimalistic style. All this whilst maintaining the peculiar and elegant shapes which are characteristic of this phenomenal couple.

So, let’s see some of these fantastic iconic products designed by Charles and Ray Eames. As you can see, their preferred materials are plywood and plastic: both easily capable of taking on their chosen lines and shapes.
From the beginning in 1957 it has been the company Vitra who distributed their brand in Europe. 

Lounge Chair & Ottoman

The Lounge Chair, together with its complement the Ottoman, was designed in 1956 and is considered to be a classic among classics. You can find it here.

Credits: vitra.com

DSW chair

Even the DSW chair is a classic among classics and although it was created in 1950 and it simply doesn’t look its age: it’s still current and very modern.
You can find it here.

Credits: vitra.com

Eames Elephant

Also this beautiful and famous stool, designed in 1945, which I have already talked about on my blog. It comes in two versions: coloured or natural plywood.

Credits: vitra.com

DAW Armchair

With lines similar to the DSW but with the addition of armrests, the DAW comes in plastic or in fiberglass.

Credits: vitra.com

La Chaise

Inspired by Gaston Lachaise’s “Floating Figure”, this chair was designed in 1948 for New York’s MoMA competition. Strangely, it has only been in production since 1991!
You can find it here.

Credits: vitra.com
Credits: midcenturyhome.com

What an extraordinary duo!
We are now full of the wonderful and timeless products of this ingenious, creative couple.
We don’t want to risk overloading you with beauty and elegance?!? 🙂

What do you think of this famous design couple? Did you like the products I chose or would you have chosen different products? What is your favourite? Let me know what you think. Leave a message in the comments below or send me an email to [email protected]

Photo cover credits: vitra.com

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