Charles and Ray Eames
The couple Charles and Ray Eames can be viewed as the personalisation of American-modernism. The are well-known for their design classics such as the Eames Lounge Chair, fibre glass arm and sidechairs, or the aluminium group furniture. Their pieces still are and have been featured in TV shows, movies, commercials etc. and are included in the standard collection of museums worldwide.
After Charles and Ray met during the war days in 1941, they decided to move to Los Angeles where they aimed at designing low-cost furniture, suitable for mass production.
Before meeting Ray, Charles studied architecture and collaborated with designers such as Eero Saarinen and Frank Lloyd Wright. With respect to Ray, she had a more artistic background, having studied with the painter Hans Hofmann in New York.
It was their co-operation with the US Navy for which they developed a leg splint using a new technique that allowed them to bent plywood using steam and pressure, giving inspiration for the Eames Chair Wood, a bent plywood chair, produced by Evans, and still made today by the Herman Miller Company and Vitra.
Throughout their career, Charles and Ray kept experimenting with new techniques such as fibre glass, plywood, metal and plastics. Their work didn’t limit only to furniture, but also includes buildings, toys, film etc. Basically, anything they designed and produced has become a highly sought after design classic : large sums are paid in auctions for original, non-restored pieces.
The work of Charles and Ray can be viewed in the standard collection of renowed museums, such as the MOMA in New York, or the new Vitra Museum Weil-am-Rhein in Germany.