January 5, 2012
When Charles and Ray Eames were asked to produce a film for the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959, they agreed, but on the condition that the film would not be reviewed before the show.
Government officials who had sanctioned the film were clueless on the progress—even the subject—of the film, as documented in Eames: The Architect and the Painter. During regular check-ins, a representative would sit down for a showing, the reel would start, and then shortly thereafter go blank. “Well that’s all we have so far,” was the comment from the Eames Office team. “Oh, okay, looks good I guess,” was the typical response from the minder. And so it went, all the way to opening day.
Arriving in Moscow the night before the scheduled opening, film in hand, Charles and Ray were ready to premiere their Glimpses of the U.S.A. Displayed on seven screens, each 20 feet high by 30 feet wide, their film stole the show. Time magazine called it “the smash hit of the Fair.”
But how does such a film end? It was George Nelson, exhibition design director, who suggested the Eameses finish “with love,” and they did: a single shot of forget-me-nots, translated literally in English and Russian.
November 21, 2011
George Nelson said, “The aim of the design process is always to produce an object that does something,” and what the umbrella does is protect.
People have been shielding themselves from sun and rain for centuries underneath the umbrella’s curved contour⎯an ingenious design with multiple applications, including Nelson’s fiberglass parasols at the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow.
As exhibition design director, Nelson’s structure covered exhibits, including Edward Steichen’s “Family of Man” photography collection. Charles and Ray Eames also took part, displaying their film “Glimpses of the USA” on multiple screens showing basic aspects of American life. Additionally, Herman Miller Modern Classics⎯before they were classics⎯showcased as leading innovations in American home furnishings.
Fifty years later, the umbrella’s shape made its way inside, providing shade for computer screens. Designer, Ayse Birsel, compares her Resolve canopy to “a parasol on a beach.” And her umbrella does more than block overhead glare, “It defines your territory and augments your sense of space.”
Resolve creates open, inviting, space-efficient workstations where people feel comfortable and connected. When underneath the umbrella-like Resolve canopy, there’s “a very tangible sense of one’s own space without the use of walls,” as Birsel put it.