In 1969, Eames was interviewed by Madame L’Amic of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs as part of a design exhibition showing at the Louvre that year. The session proved fruitful, the source of several well-known Eames quotes, and eventually became an audio track on Design Q&A, an Eames Office film on the design process.
The book, Eames Design; The Work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, included a transcript of that interview. The following are a few memorable excerpts.
Q: What is your definition of design?
A: A plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.
Q: What are the boundaries of design?
A: What are the boundaries of problems?
Q: Does the creation of design admit constraint?
A: Design depends largely on constraints.
Q: What constraints?
A: The sum of all constraints. Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem: the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible (and) his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints—the constraints of price, size, strength, balance, surface, time, etc.; each problem has its own peculiar list.
Q: To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number (the masses)? The specialists…the enlightened amateur…a privileged social class?
A: To the need.