Sunday, April 6, 2008


"They set off for a long honeymoon drive to their new home in Los Angeles. On the journey, they picked up a tumbleweed from the road which still hangs from the ceiling of the Eames House today."

There are many couples who work well with one another and there are couples who work extremely well with another, a fine example of that was Charles and Ray Eames. Their designs and concepts revolutionized the way people saw everyday objects such as chairs, shelves and desks and so on and so on. Using materials such as fibreglass, plastic and aluminum they built some of the most iconic pieces of furniture, including the bent plywood and leather "Eames Lounge Chair".

Along with furniture, the Eames du0 collaborated on children's toys, films and held lectures at various schools showing slides of everyday objects used in creative ways.


1907 Charles Eames Jr. is born in St Louis, Missouri, the second child of Adele and Charles Sr., a railway security officer.

1912 Bernice Alexandra Kaiser, nicknamed Ray, is born in Sacramento California. Her father is an insurance salesman.

1915 While working in Virginia, Charles Eames Sr. is shot by trainrobbers. Injured, he ekes out a living as a journalist only to die in 1919.

1925 On graduating from high school, Charles wins an architecture scholarship at Washington University, St Louis.

1929 After marrying a fellow student, Catherine Woermann, Charles honeymoons in Europe and discovers the buildings of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Le Corbusier.

1930 Back in St Louis, Charles opens an architectural office with Charles Gray. Ray and her widowed mother move to New York.

1933 She studies painting with Hans Hofmann and continues until 1939.

1936 With a new architectural partner, Robert Walsh, Charles designs the modern-style Meyer House in collaboration with Eliel Saarinen who becomes a friend and in 1938 offers him a fellowship at Cranbrook.

1940 Ray enrols at Cranbrook where Charles is teaching industrial design. Charles collaborates with Eero Saarinen on cabinets and chairs for an Organic Design competition at MoMA, New York.

1941 Having divorced Catherine, Charles marries Ray in Chicago and they drive to California. They turn a spare room into a plywood workshop.

1942 After winning an order from the US Navy for plywood leg splints, the Eames open a design studio on nearby Santa Monica Boulevard.

1945 The Plywood Chair goes into production.

1946 Charles is the subject of a "one man show" at MoMA, New York at which George Nelson persuades the Herman Miller company to hire him.

1948 Charles and Eero Saarinen win MoMA's Low Cost Furniture Competition with a design for a fibreglass chaise longue.

1949 Construction begins of the two Case Study Houses designed by the Eames in Pacific Palisades: one for themselves, the other designed with and as a home for the architect John Entenza.

1950 The Good Design exhibition series starts at MoMa featuring many of the Eames' designs. They design the (unbuilt) Billy Wilder House.

1952 Launch of the first version of the interlocking House of Cards. Henceforth, the Eames are increasingly preoccupied with films, games and puzzles.

1956 Lounge Chair goes on sale.

1958 The Eames complete an official report into design education in India. Launch of the Aluminium Series of office furniture.

1964 After years of making educational and promotional films for IBM, the Eames design the IBM Pavilion at the New York World's Fair.

1968 Power of Ten, one of the Eames' most influential films, is produced.

1978 Charles Eames dies in Los Angeles.

1988 Ray Eames dies ten years to the day after Charles' death.

1 comment:

JM said...

the random plants in pots and dishes and such next to those amazing buildings are such a nice contrast and a nice harmony between the design and environment...

im going to repot a plant now