The married couple Charles and Ray Eames both came from creative backgrounds. Charles Eames grew an interest in architecture and engineering from a young age and went on to study architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. Ray Eames studied painting in New York before moving on to Cranbrook Academy where she studied furniture design and met Charles.
The couple married in 1941 and moved to Los Angeles where they began their life-long career in design, they are best known for pioneering contributions in fields of furniture design, architecture, industrial design and manufacturing, graphic design and photographic arts.
The duo successfully developed a way to utilize their idea of moulded plywood, they would go on to create the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman with this method. This design can now be found in museum collections and designer homes across the globe as it continues to be a symbol of luxurious comfort even after more than 50 years of production.
With their Eames Plastic Chairs they introduced a new classification of furniture that has since become widespread, their multi-functional chair that can be combined on a variety of different bases, was designed for a low-cost furniture company. Also known as the Eiffel Collection due to its striking wire leg frame, that similar to the famous Parisian Landmark, incorporates the need for a light, elegant form with a structural strength that gives the chair durability.
Eames had challenges when it came to their plastic chairs, early attempts found that the chair did not stand up to regular use and developed cracks where the back of the chair was moulded. This fault had to be overcome before it went on to be the notorious design it is today.
Without Charles and Ray Eames’s experimental processes and ambitious work their well known, mid-century modern chair ranges would not be what they are today. Their Lounge Chairs and Eiffel Chairs are still recognized today after 60 years.
Charles and Ray Eames designed 2 houses to be part of the Case Study House Program, along with 13 other buildings. The Case Study House program was a challenge to the architectural community, it was announced to be a series of homes designed to express life in the modern world. The houses were meant to be built and furnished using materials and techniques derived from experiences from World War II.
Charles and Ray Eames designed Case Study House 8 for themselves and they embodied the design to state an idea rather than a fixed architectural pattern. Now considered a historic landmark, people from across the world come to visit the structure.
With a background in painting, Ray and the Eames Office’s have designed countless covers for magazine issues, film posters and marketing content. This was one of many design concepts that Eames undertook and mastered, adding to their collection of renowned pieces.
The amazing design duo started their venture by experimenting with techniques to mould plywood to achieve curved shapes with the rigid material in furniture design.
This later helped them during World War II where they produced moulded plywood splints, stretchers and experimental glider shells with their methods. They set out to overcome the issue of metal assistants further wounding servicemen.
Why You Should Know About Charles & Ray Eames
After conquering many areas of design, people entering the industry can take inspiration from their work not just for the designs but what brought them to the designs, from their unprecedented ideas, adaptable subjects and solutions to overcome issues they found with the current circumstances.