With a great sense of adventure, Charles and Ray Eames They used great doses of curiosity and enthusiasm to get amazing creations. They were a fantastic team, they had a unique complicity that led them to create classic and modern furniture, beautiful and functional, sophisticated and elegant in a simple and wonderful way. That was and is the "Eames look".
One critic once said "They just wanted to make the world a better place. They did that. And they also made it much more interesting. "
Charles Eames studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis from 1925 to 1928, a year in which, according to legend, he was expelled for his "too modern" opinions, although this point is not entirely clear.
In 1929 he traveled to Europe where he first met the work of the architects of the modern movement, such as Le Corbusier, Ludwing van der Rohe and Walter Gropius.
At 1930, Charles Eames and Charles Gray, a friend and business partner, opened an architectural studio in St. Louis, which was later joined by Walter Pauley as a third partner. Although the study carried out a series of private homes, 1934 no longer received any commission due to the crisis that existed at that time, so Eames left St. Louis to reside briefly in Mexico.
Upon returning to St. Louis at 1935, he founded a new architectural studio with Robert Walsh and after a year they projected the Meyer house in Huntleigh Village. For this project, Eames sought the advice of the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen and in 1937 he met his son Eero Saarinen that he would become a partner and friend.
At 1938, Eliel Saarinen offered him a scholarship to study at the Cranbook Academy or Art and began design and architecture in the fall of that year. In 1939 he was appointed design professor and in 1940 he was head of the Industrial Design Department of Cranbrook. That year Cranbrook attended a new student, Ray Kaiser, who had previously studied painting at the Hans Hofmann school in New York.
Ray collaborated with Charles Eames and Eeero Saarinen in the proposal presented at the "Organic Design in Home Furnishing Competition" organized at the Museum of Modern Art in New York at 1940.
Within a year, after divorcing his first wife, Charles married Ray Kaiser in Chicago. The marriage was installed in California. At that time, they began experimenting with wood-molding techniques and developed the Kazam! Machine, a press for molding wood in two geometric planes in complex curves.
At 1942, the US Navy commissioned wooden slats for arms and legs as well as bunk beds, so they founded the Plyformed Wood Company to mass produce a first run of 5.000 slats. Because of the economic difficulties, the Eames were forced to sell this factory that became the Molded Plywood Products Division of the Evans Products Company of Detroit. For a time, Charles was the director of research and development for the department. At 1946, the Museum of Modern Art organized an individual exhibition titled "New Furniture by Charles Eames" in which prototypes of the famous wooden chairs were presented. These innovative chairs were the result of the Eames' goal of "offering the best of the best to as many people as possible and at the lowest price." Initially Evans produced the chairs and shortly thereafter they were marketed and distributed exclusively by Herman Miller, who took control of the company at 1949.
In 1948, Charles Eames won the second prize of the "International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design" of the MOMA for his innovative proposal of a series of fiberglass chairs.
These revolutionary chairs were the first unlined plastic seats that came to be produced in series. His concept of a universal structure capable of being used in different bases and offering multiple variations exerted a great influence.
Throughout the years 50 and 60, the Eames worked with Herman Miller and created very innovative furniture such as chairs Alluminium Group (1958). They were also applauded for their architectural projects, particularly the Case Study Houses nº8 and nº9 by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, completed in 1949 and built in Pacific Palisades.
The nº8 projected for the Eames themselves, came to be known as the Eames House. The interior of this house, remarkable for its lightness and sense of space, was decorated with an eclectic and colorful mix of elements-toys, kites, oriental objects-that implied the modern aesthetics of the interior.
Although both shared the same ethical imperatives and a great affinity for the structure, Charles approached the design from a technological, mathematical and productive point of view, while Ray highlighted special and aesthetic formal considerations.
Last year the documentary Eames: The Architect and the Painter was presented, which delves much more than I do into the life and work of these two geniuses. I leave you the trailer of the documentary waiting as always for you to enjoy it as much as I do.
The originals of the Eames are manufactured in the USA by Herman Miller and in Europe by Vitra and can be purchased through their official Distributors such as Naharro.