Design, What's Up
October 2, 2012
A Ray Eames biography would be better expressed through pictures—with the soft, delicate arcs of charcoal from her early sketches, and the bold blocks of yellow, blue, and red of her paintings.
Throughout her life, Ray used pictures, and later, objects, as a means of communication and expression. A study of correspondence between Charles and Ray hints at their reliance on a transcendent, pictographic language. It was as if their ideas were too brilliant and beautiful to capture in the strict confines of a word or phrase, so pictures became their favored form of ideation.
It’s clear that color was the defining parlance of Ray’s unique visual language. Influenced by her study with Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann, Ray’s love of bold, primary color is evident in every facet of her life and work—the exterior panels of the Pacific Palisades home she shared with Charles, her Arts and Architecture magazine covers, and her dress designs and textile patterns.
Ray’s visual language colored her design partnerships with Charles; her aesthetic imprint is unmistakable on collaborations like the Eames Wire Base Low Table. It’s now being offered for a limited time in a Select Edition, in three Ray-inspired colors—cobalt blue, red-orange, and yellow-gold.
December 29, 2011
It’s always fun to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how a favorite design is made. In the case of the Select Nelson tray table, we returned to our roots to show you the process of molding plywood—a manufacturing process we helped to pioneer.
Although the process of molding plywood is essentially same as it was in the 1940’s, when it was developed, modern technology has allowed for greater speed, precision, and strength. While the production process does utilize machinery, as you can see in the slideshow, it is certainly not automated and requires hands-on work.
The tray table, designed by George Nelson in 1955, like many of Nelson’s designs, was a reaction to modern living. New, smaller residences lacked space for a dedicated room for hosting guests. Hence the tray table, a collapsible, portable table that could be brought out for entertaining and easily stored away when not in use.
The 2011 limited-edition Select Nelson tray table features an inlay pattern inspired by George Nelson’s mid-century masterpiece, the Flock of Butterflies clock. The design juxtaposes diamonds of walnut and santos palisander veneers with white ash, finished with a process that arrests the wood in its natural, freshly cut state.
October 14, 2009
“Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas.” – Charles Eames
Visit any design firm and you’ll likely find a canister of Play-Doh, an Etch A Sketch, a Spirograph. But toy collections aren’t limited to designers and design firms—almost every office has one.