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Discover what made the future: Charles and Ray Eames

One of the true power couples in design.

Charles and Ray Eames were industrial designers best known for their furniture, notably the Eames Lounge Chair, which just screams ‘1960s corner office’. The Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are permanent pieces in the Museum of Modern Art.

Charles and Ray were widely talented individuals and had stints in graphic design, fine art, film and made influential contributions to the fields of design and architecture. Charles took on most of the public-facing roles but everyone in the Eames team contributed meaningfully. Some of the big names coming out of the Eames office were the likes of Henry Beer, Richard Foy, Annette Del Zoppo, Deborah Sussman and so many more.

Thirteen hour days were the norm which makes it no surprise that their work became highly regarded for its attention to detail and quality. The philosophy that drove many of the couples’ projects was to ‘learn by doing’ which was evident in their preference for collaboration.

In 1943 the couple used their understanding of furniture design to create splints from furniture material to make an alternative to the metal splints that were causing health issues in the war.

The Arts & Architecture magazine started a Case Study program that has yielded many classics, one of which being the Eames House #8. It was hand constructed and made from prefabricated steel parts that were intended for industrial construction. The house was designated a Historic Landmark in 2006 and is one of the cornerstones of modern architecture and design.

The couple used short films to record their interests, some intellectual and others experimental. One of their most fascinating exhibitions, called ‘Mathematica’, is well worth your time.

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