An In­te­gra-l Doc­u­men­ta­tion ofcharlesand ray eames

Harper's Bazaar Art (Indonesia) - - Art Scene - Ex­plor­ing doc­u­ments of the his­tor­i­cally strong­est fur­ni­ture la­bel. By Nonita Res­pati

It is true to say that Charles and Ray Eames are the most in­flu­en­tial artists of the twentieth cen­tury. Their names are the ones be­hind the chairs and iconic fur­ni­ture la­beled Eames. Duo Eames, hus­band and wife, Charles (male) and Ray (fe­male), are the mul­ti­tal­ented per­sonas ca­pa­ble to work art in lim­it­less con­text and medi­ums. From de­sign­ing chairs, build­ings, houses, mag­a­zine cov­ers, mul­ti­me­dia in­stal­la­tions, tex­tile, ex­hi­bi­tions, to med­i­cal aid equip­ment, the cou­ple com­bines fiber­glass tech­nol­ogy and alu­minium. Their views run ex­tremely wild re­fus­ing to be cat­e­go­rized by one field, yet on the other side very prac­ti­cal. Prob­a­bly not many peo­ple know that they once de­signed a glider from ply­wood (though it was no longer re­pro­duced). How­ever, an­other ob­ject they de­signed, sav­ing many Amer­i­can sol­diers hurt in war, was the wooden leg brace. Peter Smith­son, an English ar­chi­tect, ex­plains how Charles is a gen­uine Cal­i­for­nian, ca­pa­ble of us­ing the many sources sur­round­ing him to pro­duce films, to de­sign for the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, to con­trib­ute in ad­ver­tis­ing, as easy as a per­son drink­ing wa­ter – all is done with­out think­ing.

Charles and Ray grew in an era where mass in­dus­try was at

this clas­sic shot of de­sign­ers charles and ray eames “pinned” by the bases of their ground­break­ing dcm chair is just one of many play­ful self-por­traits they cre­ated over the years.

its peak, even be­fore it be­came main topic in the me­dia and they con­quered both. They com­bined poly­mathic with in-depth knowl­edge, skill, and tech­nol­ogy that had never been per­formed by any­one be­fore them. In the world of graph­ics and fur­ni­ture, they used a va­ri­ety of medium, and not only did they cre­ate prod­ucts but also com­mu­ni­cated through the prod­ucts. Con­se­quently, it was no sur­prise when the ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled The World of Charles and Ray Eames tak­ing place on April 17th to Septem­ber 4th 2016 has be­come one of the cru­cial ex­hi­bi­tions for the de­sign fa­nat­ics and the or­di­nary. The ex­hi­bi­tion has trav­elled to many coun­tries, and this time is cu­rated by Bar­bican Art Gallery, Lon­don, col­lab­o­rat­ing with Eames Of­fice, sup­ported by Terra Foun­da­tion for Amer­i­can Art, and held in Bild­museet, Umeå Arts Cam­pus, Swe­dia. The pre-open­ing was at­tended by Eames Demetrios, the fourth grand­child of Charles and Ray, who is also the di­rec­tor of Eames Of­fice in Los An­ge­les, a cen­ter of pioneer de­sign ac­tiv­i­ties with un­lim­ited cre­ativ­ity in their ca­reer. Thanks to Eames Of­fice, the duo artists’ archives are very well doc­u­mented. “Charles and Ray weren’t the kind of peo­ple who would take any kind of work. They wouldn’t want to change any­thing that they didn’t think needed to be. For ex­am­ple, they were asked to be con­sul­tants for the Bud­weiser Beer logo mod­i­fi­ca­tion. In the end, af­ter months of wait­ing, Charles and Ray came back to Bud­weiser and stated that the logo was al­ready beau­ti­ful, there­fore it re­quired no change,” ex­plained Eames. This truly refers to the fa­mous say­ing by Charles and Ray: “In­no­vate as a last re­sort.”

POW­ERS OF TEN Cre­ated for IBM, Pow­ers of Ten is one of the fa­mous films aimed to com­mu­ni­cate the cor­re­la­tions be­tween de­sign and film. The film be­gins with a pic­nic scene in Chicago, but in ev­ery ten sec­onds the cam­era moves

away un­til the galaxy ap­pears like a dot. The film is en­riched with pho­tog­ra­phy all through­out the shoot­ings.

LIV­ING ROOM One of the loveli­est vi­gnettes

of this ex­hi­bi­tion is a re­con­struc­tion

of a room the Eame­ses de­signed for the Good De­sign ex­hi­bi­tion in 1949. It is dis­played

with Ray’s col­laged mock up of the lay­out.



From 1949 to the end of 1960, Eames su­per­vised the show­room de­sign of Her­man Miller. Ray made an ob­ject and prop­erty list that was used as or­na­ments, in­clud­ing pho­tog­ra­phy, art and a num­ber of other medi­ums. Sketches and vis­ual of the show­room in­te­rior is dis­played in the ex­hi­bi­tion to­gether with graph­ics, ad­ver­tis­ing prints, and pro­mo­tion ma­te­rial made for Her­man Miller.


One of Eames most pop­u­lar prod­ucts are The House of Cards, which are 54 cards printed with an­i­mal, stone, veg­etable ob­ject de­signs that are placed in line ac­cord­ing to the pack­age in­struc­tions. Later on, the pat­tern deck went out of pro­duc­tion.


The ex­hi­bi­tion dis­plays a very touch­ing let­ter from Charles to Ray, “I love you very much and would like to marry you very soon”, also a let­ter from Ray dec­o­rated in cutout pa­per hearts. Sev­eral il­lus­trated en­velopes, birth­day cards hand­made by Ray for Charles, and pieces of

Ray’s diary mark­ing the death of Charles with the ini­tial of her hus­band are also dis­played. Although the whole ex­hi­bi­tion is fo­cuses on their pro­fes­sional work, dis­plays of their draw­ings, let­ters, per­sonal pic­tures, study and fam­ily of­fer a win­dow into the pri­vate lives of Charles and Ray, por­tray­ing how close their re­la­tion­ship was.


The graphic work con­sist of posters pro­mot­ing the open­ing of Her­man Miller tex­tile, an ob­ject show­room in Man­hat­tan de­signed by Alexan­der Gi­rard, and an ex­am­ple of the Eames Lounge Chair ad­ver­tise­ment.

eames lounge chair and Ot­toman, de­signed by charles and ray eames in 1956.

a trea­sure trove of de­sign his­tory. two eames leg splints (their first mass pro­duced prod­uct, 1942); a sculp­ture ray carved from a splint in 1943; the molded ply­wood sculp­ture by charles and ray that is both a test of their rev­o­lu­tion­ary tech­nol­ogy and a beau­ti­ful work of art; tail piece they made for a molded ply­wood glider in World War ii.

rarely seen eames de­signs and fur­ni­ture pro­to­types are key el­e­ments of this show. in the top pic­ture are the fol­low­ing eames de­signs, l to r on the far plinth: a molded ply­wood stretcher for car­ry­ing wounded sol­diers (1944); three ex­per­i­men­tal ply­wood shells (ca 1945); two 3-legged dcms and the fi­nal dcm. On the right hand plinth, a lcw, the first eames ply­wood ele­phant and sev­eral chil­dren’s chair pro­to­types. (an eames ctw ta­ble is mounted on the wall)



cou­ple friends was

with close Saul car­toon­ist

Stein­berg. com­i­cal Saul’s

sketches on the

Eames are chair avail­able

at the ex­hi­bi­tion. eames House of cards (1952) - pic­ture deck eames Plas­tic armshell— dec­o­rated by saul stein­berg

still from eames film Pow­ers of Ten (1977)

eames House of cards (1952) - pat­tern deck


for eames lounge chair done by eames

Of­fice (1956)

Pro­posal let­ter from charles eames to ray Kaiser (1952)

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