Exploring Eames

8 years ago
3 minutes

The last segment expored the first part of Charles and Ray Eames and their iconic pieces of furniture.

The Eameses are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts.

Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri.  He attended school there and developed an interest in engineering and architecture.  After attending Washington University in St. Louis on scholarship for two years and being thrown out for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright, he began working in an architectural office.  In 1929, he married his first wife, Catherine Woermann (they divorced in 1941), and a year later Charles’s only child, Lucia was born.  In 1930, Charles started his own architectural office.  He began extending his design ideas beyond architecture and received a fellowship to Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he eventually became head of the design department.

Ray Kaiser Eames was born in 1912 in Sacramento, California.  She studied painting with Hans Hofmann in New York before moving on to Cranbrook Academy where she met and assisted Charles and Eero Saarinen in preparing designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Furniture Competition.  Charles and Eero’s designs, created by molding plywood into complex curves, won them the two first prizes.

Charles and Ray married in 1941 and moved to California where they continued their furniture design work with molding plywood.  During World War II they were commissioned by the United States Navy to produce molded plywood splints, stretchers, and experimental glider shells.  In 1946, Evans Products began producing the Eameses’ molded plywood furniture.  Their molded plywood chair was called “the chair of the century” by the influential architectural critic Esther McCoy.  Soon production was taken over by Herman Miller, Inc., who continues to produce the furniture in the United States today.  Our other partner, Vitra International, manufactures the furniture in Europe.

In 1949, Charles and Ray designed and built their own home in Pacific Palisades, California, as part of the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine.  Their design and innovative use of materials made the House a mecca for architects and designers from both near and far.  Today, it is considered one of the most important post-war residences anywhere in the world.

Eames/Saarinen Organic Chair

Developed in 1940 for the Museum of Modern Art in New York’s competition, this design was well and truly ahead of its time. Mass production did not begin for another 10 years due to its advanced shell curving. This is piece is loved by many apartment developers as a focal piece in the living room using unique fabric colours.

Eames Soft Pad Chairs

Eames was by now famous for their Aluminium Chair, the Soft Pad chair was the evolution of the Aluminium Chair produced for Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard. With the addition of two-inch thick seat cushions, the Soft Pad boasts a sophisticated and refined distinctiveness to set itself apart from its competitors. The Eames Soft Pad chair is still loved by many interior designers in homes and offices alike. 

Eames Round Moulded Plywood Coffee Table

Charles and Ray Eames spent years exploring the fundamental idea creating technologies that can ‘get to the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least’. A result of that relentless approach was their famous moulded plywood table. Light, compact and versatile – the Eames coffee table forms a strikingly simple centrepiece in any residential or commercial space. 

Patrick Doan is the Managing Director of Dash Designed. Dash Designed are apartment furniture specialists and have over 25 years of furniture experience in the family.