An Integra-l Documentation ofcharlesand ray eames
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.
HOUSE OF CARDS
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.
RAY AND CHARLES’ LOVE LETTER
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.
HERMAN MILLER TEXTILE POSTER
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
Proposal letter from charles eames to ray Kaiser (1952)