December 25, 2012
Charles and Ray Eames kept many of the holiday cards they received over the years—cards from family and friends, including the likes for Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, Eero and Lily Saarinen, and D.J. De Pree. Not surprising, considering the Eames’s inclination to collect and curate objects they found beautiful, intriguing, or particularly well designed.
For more holiday cards and Eames ephemera, visit the Library of Congress website, where you can view many of the over 1,000,000 Eames photos and documents housed in the Library’s collection.
November 12, 2012
In a big world, sometimes it’s the little things that stand out. A Mini Cooper zipping through traffic or a little iPad that fits in your pocket, some designs owe much to their diminutive size. The Eames Wire Base Low Table—LTR for short—is one such piece.
On it’s own or arranged in a row, dark tops beside light tops, veneer next to laminate—there’s no right or wrong way to use the LTR. Charles Eames demonstrated the fact in this photo shoot on the patio of the Eames House. So, if you’re in need of a place to serve hors d’oeuvres or a low stool or a part-time plant stand, don’t be afraid to grab this little table and get creative—Charles would be delighted if you did.
Looking to make a statement? Check out the Select Eames Wire Base Low Table, available for a limited time in three bold colors—cobalt blue, red-orange, yellow-gold.
October 25, 2012
A diagram drawn by Charles Eames to explain the intersecting concerns of a design problem.
“Design,” said Charles Eames, “depends largely on constraints.” That quote came to mind listening to John Pugh’s recent presentation at PSFK Conference London. As director of digital communications for pharma firm Boehringer-Ingelheim, Pugh knows a thing or two about constraints; few industries are as regulated as pharmaceuticals.
But is Pugh whining? No. Echoing Eames, he says “restrictions force us to create.” Pharma companies do great work under strict constraints when it comes to researching and developing drugs, notes Pugh; they need to be just as creative in promoting themselves, and using social media to do so, despite regulations and a history of not doing it very well.
That attitude fits the view Eames articulated about design: “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; his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints.”
Design, What's Up
October 9, 2012
“Design addresses itself to the need,” as Charles Eames used to say. Sometimes the need was for furniture well-suited for modern living. At other times it was for a film, a toy, or an educational exhibit. Another need, sometimes overshadowed by other projects, was for graphic design—a task the Eames Office, with Charles and his wife Ray at its helm, approached with the same thoughtfulness and diligence it gave all pursuits.
Inspired by Charles and paying homage to the rigorous process that produced many iconic designs, the PM Gallery of London entitled its new exhibit on graphic works of the Eames Office Address the Need. On display alongside well-known pieces, such as the Giant House of Cards and Powers of Ten film, are brochures, posters, and other rarely seen items. It should be a visual treat.
If you’re in the area, check it out. Address the Need will be open to the public until November 3, 2012. For more information on the exhibit, click here.
Design, What's Up
April 17, 2012
If numbers come to mind when you hear the word “mathematics,” you’re not alone. That was the misconception that Charles and Ray Eames sought to undo with their groundbreaking 1961 exhibit designed for IBM: Mathematica: a World of Numbers …and Beyond.
The truth, Charles and Ray realized, is that numbers only represent one percent of the world of mathematics. From a pinball demonstration of celestial movement to a 1,000-year timeline of mathematical discoveries and influential events, Charles, Ray, and the entire Eames Office worked hard to bring mathematics to life without numbers.
April 9, 2012
“Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas,” Charles Eames once observed. Realizing that creativity is often sparked when least expected, Eames encouraged the staff of the Eames Office to find time to play a game or pose for a silly photo. But if inspiration can strike anywhere, then why do so few people find that place to be the office?
Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine, believes it’s because people don’t have time for creativity at work. Chaining yourself to your computer in search of an answer, Lehrer argues, is only going to leave you frustrated. “You may look productive, but you’re actually wasting time.” Instead, he advices “go for a walk. You should play some ping-pong. You should find a way to relax.”
March 13, 2012
Formed over a millennium under heat and pressure, stone reflects the particular characteristics of its origin. A fact kept in mind when we selected stone tops for the new Nelson and Eames outdoor tables.
Wanting stone with unique character, we found four we liked from quarries across North American: Georgia White Marble, a white stone with accents of warm beige and grey veins; Georgia Grey Marble, a cloudy grey stone with strong veins of light and dark grey, and reflective crystals; Wisconsin Black Marble, a dark stone speckled with lustrous green and grey veins; and Quebec Graphite Granite, a subtly patterned granite composed of deep grey hues.
Each is a natural complement to the design it sits atop, and durable enough to stand up to all types of weather.
February 16, 2012
The Valastro's 1954 Brooklyn apartment with their new Eames furniture. Photo: danielostroff.com
In 1954, a young couple invested their wedding money in furniture for their modest Brooklyn apartment. The furniture, designed by another young couple, Charles and Ray Eames, lasted a lifetime.
For five decades, Sal and Gladys Valastro lived with their Eames designs. They treated the furniture with care, but never pampered it from the rough and tumble of everyday life. At the hands of the Valastro sons, an Eames rocker, turned over, became a turtle shell and the molded plywood coffee table was a spot to sit and spin.
Eames + Valastro is the story of a family with good design. Author, and Eames scholar, Daniel Ostroff provides a reminder that the Eameses designed for life, and their work only gets better with use.
Design, What's Up
January 30, 2012
An early prototype of the Eames lounge developed in 1946.
In 1945, Charles and Ray Eames introduced the world to molded plywood as a material for furniture. Using a process perfected in the living room of their Westwood apartment, the Eames created numerous prototypes. With each, they learned the characteristics and limitations of molded plywood, eventually landing on the forms of their iconic molded plywood chairs.
This February, see the Eameses’ hard work on display along with plywood designs by Aalto, Jacobsen, Yanagi, and others at Plywood: Material, Process, Form at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Hurry, the exhibition closes February 27, 2012.
Design, What's Up
January 12, 2012
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there’s now more of it for every beholder of our classic Eames designs. MCL is a new premium leather that preserves the luxurious feel and texture of a material that has long been the epitome of upholstery choices.
Most upholstery leathers are sanded and pressed to make the grain—the natural pebbled texture of leather—look more uniform. By contrast, MCL celebrates the inherent characteristics of high quality leather. Soft and thick, MCL closely resembles the aniline leather used on the original Eames lounge chair and ottoman. Over a lifetime of use MCL will wrinkle and patina naturally, meaning it will wear in, not wear out.