The work of Charles and Ray Eames
January 12, 2005 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Charles Eames (1907-78) and Ray Eames (1912-88) gave shape to America's twentieth century. Their lives and work represented the nation's defining social movements: the West Coast's coming-of-age, the economy's shift from making goods to the producing information, and the global expansion of American culture. This Library of Congress exhibit outlines major themes of the Eames' life and voluminous works, including architecture, furniture, and the film Powers of Ten. It is wonderfully illustrated with artifacts, photos of their life and work, and examples from the Eames' collection of 350,000 slides.
posted by carter (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I always wanted an Eames Lounge Chair.
posted by caddis at 9:35 AM on January 12, 2005


The Eameses did so much for American furniture design, it's amazing. I admire these two guys quite a bit. Their chairs at least USED to be all over the place - especially in airports. Two very, very talented designers.

On a side note, I'm getting tired of seeing craigslist ads advertising furniture as "Eames era" or "Eames style" when the furniture contained therein bears only vague, if any, resemblence to Eamesian work. Then again, maybe I'm just a furniture dork.
posted by salad spork at 9:42 AM on January 12, 2005


Did you find any sites other than the library of congress with Eames info while you were researching this?
posted by milovoo at 9:44 AM on January 12, 2005


I think the LOC site is enough. Pretty good stuff there.
posted by caddis at 9:48 AM on January 12, 2005


Don't miss the great stuff at Eames Office especially their own webversion of Powers of Ten

salad spork - Ray Eames was not a guy, she was married to Charles Eames. That's her driving the motorcycle.
posted by portage at 10:11 AM on January 12, 2005


[Hi milovoo: for me, the point is 'Best of the Web,' rather than a compilation of links I found by googling 'Eames.' So when I came across this, I thought it was a great site *as a site* - nice narrative, nice layout, nice artifacts, and a ton of interesting stuff linked off the main pages. I like seeing the minutiae of how creative people lived, worked, and created, and I thought this site presented this well]
posted by carter at 10:14 AM on January 12, 2005


I think the Charles and Ray will mainly be remembered for three things:

- Plywood shaping technology that created a whole new way to construct furniture

- "Powers of Ten" as a design mechanism for displaying data at massively different scales

- A certain joie de vie. They truly seemed to love life, design, and each other. We've got this photo framed in the gwint household.
posted by gwint at 10:40 AM on January 12, 2005


The films are great, but I recommend Netflixing them, rather than buying them. Five volumes, but just one-hour each.
posted by jpoulos at 11:12 AM on January 12, 2005


I'm getting tired of seeing craigslist ads advertising furniture as "Eames era" or "Eames style" when the furniture contained therein bears only vague, if any, resemblence to Eamesian work

Salad spork, I'm always looking for vintage fabric on eBay and have thought about the same thing. It probably arose because it's harder to mess up "Eames" as a search term than "mid-century modern" or any permutation of the relevant decades (1950, fifties, 1950's, 1950s, etc). I'm sure that doesn't make purists shake their fists any less vigorously.
posted by kmel at 12:59 PM on January 12, 2005


And Herman Miller just started remaking the RAR rocker again. And it's actually within reach, this time. I've often seen them referred to as the Eames brothers, portage - Ray has never really been given her due. Also see this month's issue of Metropolis, which has a good feature on the Eames House and Lucia (Charles' daughter from his first marriage) Eames' efforts to maintain it. As far as the Eames Office and the remake of the Powers of Ten - it almost seems offensive. But Eames Demetrios has been riding on his grandfather's coattails for a while now.
posted by grimley at 1:57 PM on January 12, 2005


I always had to wonder if the name of the character of Detective Eames from Law & Order: Criminal Intent was inspired by the chair dudes.

No? Just me then, I guess.
posted by bdave at 4:43 PM on January 12, 2005


Oh, and great link. New desktop wallpaper city.
posted by bdave at 5:29 PM on January 12, 2005


The Eameses did so much for American furniture design, it's amazing. I admire these two guys quite a bit. Their chairs at least USED to be all over the place - especially in airports. Two very, very talented designers.

Uh.. Ray is not a guy. Ray is woman. sigh... Charles was
Ray's husband.
posted by MikeHoegeman at 1:17 AM on January 13, 2005


ah..
someone already pointed that out. consider me reprimanded..
posted by MikeHoegeman at 1:23 AM on January 13, 2005


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