Sunday, February 22, 2009

Charles and Ray Eames

2008 marked the 100th birthday of Charles Eames (1907-1978), an American designer. Married in 1941, Charles and his wife, Ray (Ray-Bernice), worked together for forty years to produce many ground breaking furniture designs, some of which are still in production today.

The most revolutionary furniture idea they conceived was that of molded plywood. This seemingly simple concept came about when Charles and Ray experimented with a homemade molding machine into which they fed scrap pieces of plywood that Charles had brought home from his set architect job at MGM. Anyone who has ever sat in comfort on a curved plywood chair probably has the Eames' to thank for the chair.

The first molded plywood product they produced was a leg splint. The U.S. Navy order 5000 of them for injured soldiers during World War II.

Perhaps the most recognizable Eames design is their 1956 Lounge Chair and Ottoman which was highly sought by corporate executives and became a classic of mid-century modernism.

They also designed children's furniture like this plywood elephant.

To commemorate Charles' birthday the United States Postal Service issue a series of postage stamps featuring Eames furniture designs.

1 comment:

Squerl said...

Nice additional Eames blog. Squerl