Ray and Charles Eames

Architecture, design, game

A couple

Charles Eames was born in 1907 in Saint-Louis in Missouri. From the age of 14 years, while studying, he worked the weekend on the demolition of concrete shapes, on the drawing of plan and on the realization of small works of engineering. His first surrounding of the architecture are made by the construction way, of making and of undoing, what will influence afterward the way it creates the projects.

In 1929, while he went to Europe for a journey, he discovered the work of Mies Van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Corbusier, Henry Van Velde. In 1930, he opened his own agency of architecture and drew houses and projects, including for a church and an opera.

In 1939, he became teacher at the Cranbook Academy Michigan and collaborated with Eero Saarinen for the competition of the museum of modern art of New York.

In 1941, he married Ray Kaiser, who was born in 1912 to Sacramento, they moved then in Los Angeles.

Their researches concerned then to organic forms, design, games and architecture. Modern, experimental and innovative, their sources of inspiration seem so inexhaustible as interdisciplinary. Nothing locked them, either the domain, or the technique. They are also at the origin of toys (elephant), of games (memory) and even a modular hut (The toy). Their playful and uninhibited approach will participate in the democratization of the design.

After prototypes of furniture, medical equipment, the work on the body and the well-being will become a kind of personal ethics which will lead them, in their spaces and their design objects, taking into account the ergonomics and the comfort. They experimented the bent laminated (plywood) wood, the armed polyester by associating them to fabric and to leather. In 1949, they begin a decisive collaboration with the American publisher Hermann Miller. This partnership will lead them developing a range of furniture which stands out in the history of the design today. Still edited by the company Hermann Miller for the United States and Glazed for Europe, the Eames foundation edits as for its games and books concerning the work of the couple.

Some words

« The details are not the details. They make design. »

« Take your pleasure seriously. »

« Who is to say that pleasure is useless? »

Extracts issued from the Intramuros N67 november 1996

A book to know more :

Charles & Ray Eames par Maryse Quinton, éditions de la Marinière

To the foundation

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