Eames, Charles & Ray


Eames House Bird

Eames Elephant

La Chaise

Miniatures of Eames Chairs

Charles & Ray Eames

Charles and Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser Eames married in 1941. Ray took Charles' name Eames and together they created a stream of classic innovations that influenced design in the twentieth century. The might have been born in the early 1900"s but their furniture is considered contemporary or modern in 2011 and most likely will live on.

Charles Ormand Eames Jr. was born on Jun17, 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri Charles and his uncle William Eames, a St. Louis architect, may have been of some inspiration as to his future occupation. At the age of 14, he worked at the Laclede Steel Company obtaining an education in engineering, drawing, and architecture. After receiving a scholarship at Washington University while working at Trueblood and Graf he left. Some attributed his early dismissal to his modern view, praising such legendary icons as Frank Lloyd Wright. Others contend that his job at the architectural firm diminished his ability to maintain suitable grades.

Though Charles' left his education behind at Washington University, he maintained a relationship with Catherine Woermann whom he later married in 1929, and had a daughter named Lucia. Then in 1930 he partnered with Charles Grey to open up an architectural firm. Walter Pauley, and Eero Saarinen (the son of a Finnish architect, Eliel, whom was influential in Charles's career) later joined them. In 1938, Eliel invited Charles and his family to move in with him so he could study at the Cranbrook Acadamy of Art where he became a professor and the head of the industrial design program. Charles and Eero teamed up to design award winning furniture for The Museum of Modern Art in New York and together they displayed a new technique of wood molding that Charles later developed for many of his wood molded plywood products such as his furniture, but also for his splints and stretchers that were used by the US Navy during WWII. His chief engineer at the time was Gregory Ain, whom later became a part of his staff in Venice, California.

Born on December 15, 1912, Ray Eames was born in Sacramento, California and became an acclaimed American artist, designer and filmmaker. Traveling to many cities in her youth, she decided to settle in New York in 1933 where she studied abstract painting with Hans Hofman a well known art teacher who was praised in the American Heritage magazine essay, "The Artist of the Century." Hans was an art teacher that has inspired generations. It is in 1940 where she began her studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hill, Michigan where she met her longtime partner in every way - Charles Eames.

Together, Charles and Ray traveled back to California, this time settling in Los Angeles where the Eames worked in architecture and pioneered innovative techniques in contemporary furniture design such as the fiberglass resin chairs and the wire mesh chairs known in the Herman Miller line. In Venice beach they launched their firm which operated from 1943-1988. In the 1950's they experimented together on a variety of films and in the 60's and 70's designed many landmark exhibitions. Many of their accomplishments are listed below.

A star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame marks Charles Eames' fame, as it was his life that was taken by a heart attack while consulting on a trip in that same area. Ray passed away ten years later on August 21, 1988, marking the very same day that Charles had died.

Though it was originally Charles who claimed status from the Eames' designs, it has been made clear that Ray had a significant influence on their productions.

Architecture - *Sweetzer House (193?'s) *St. Louis Post-Dispatch model home (193?'s) *St. Mary's Church (Helena Arkansas, 1934) *St. Mary's Church (Paragould, Arkansas, 1935) *Dinsmoor House (193?) *Dean House (193?) *Meyer House (1938) *Bridge House (Eames-Saarinen, 1945) *Max De Pree House (1954).

Selected Films - *Traveling Boy (1950) *Blacktop: *The Story of the Washing of a School Play Yard (1952) *Parade Parade Or Here They Are Coming Down Our Street (1952) *A Communication Primer (1953) *House: After Five Years of Living (1955) *Day of the Dead (1957) *Toccata for Toy Trains (1957) *Kaleidoscope Jazz Chair (1960) *Image of the City (1969) *Banana Leaf (1972) *Power of Ten (1977) *Fiberglass Chairs, *SX-70 *Eames Lounge Chair.

Exhibition Designs - *Textiles and Ornamental Art of India (1955) *Glimpses of the USA (seven screens for American exhibitions in Moscow, Sokoolniki Parki (1959) *Mathematica (for IBM, 1961) *IBM Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair *Nehru: The Man and his India (1965) *The World of Franklin and Jefferson built for the US Bicentennial Commission opens in Paris, and will travel to five other countries and the US (1975).

Exhibitions and Retrospectives - *Library of Congress exhibit (http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9905/eames.html - 1999) *Charles and Ray Eames at the Design Museum, London (1988).

Furniture - *Eames - Saarinen Kleinhans Chair (1939) *Eames - Saarinen Organic Chair (1941) *Children's Chairs (1945) *Eames Lounge Chair Wood (LCW, 1945) *Circular Table Wood (1945) *Eames Plywood Side Chair (1946) *The Soft Pad Chair (1946) *La Chaise (1948) *Eames RAR Rocker (Rocker Armchair Rod, 1948) *Eames Eiffel Plastic Side Chair (1950) *The Lounge Chair Metal (1950) * Eames Eiffel Plastic Armchair (1950) *Eames Desk and Storage Units (1950) *The Daw (1950) *Eames Sofa Compact (1954) * Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman (1956) *Eames Aluminum Management Chair (1958) *Eames Aluminum Side Chair (1958) *Eames Aluminum Ottoman (1958) *Eames Executive Chair (aka: Lobby Chair, Time-Life Chair, 1960) *Eames Walnut Stool (three styles: Shapes A, B and C, 1960) *Eames Tandem Sling Seating (1962) *Two Piece Plastic Chair (1971) *Eames Sofa (produced after Charles Eames Death (1984).

Other - *Modeled Plywood Splint (for the US Army, 1942) *Modeled Plywood Nose Cone and Other Parts (for the CG-16 flying flatcar glider, 1943) *Pilot Seat (Prototype in molded plywood for the military, 1946) *Newton Deck of Cards (1974) *House of Cards (1952).

DesignReasons sells the Eames Elephant, the Eames House Bird and the Eames La Chaise and the Organic Chair. The Eames House Bird was a antique bird that Charles Eames found in an antique shop that he kept in his house. Vitra noticed it in many of Eames photographs and then Vitra manufactured it at a later time. The Eames Elephant , Eames La Chaise  were designed by Charles Eames for Vitra. The Organic Chair was designed in collaboration with Eero Saarinen for Vitra.