Don’t forget to tune into PBS to catch the Eames documentary tonight – Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter. Check PBS for listings in your area. Here’s a short clip about Ray Eames and her driving habits – just a taste of what to expect from the documentary.
I’m sure you’ve read about the new Eames documentary (if you haven’t you can right here). It will be screening on December 19 (check PBS for show times in your area) but in the meantime check out the companion site we’ve created, along with the very talented team at Hello.
It’s a great picture-driven timeline giving you a distinct glimpse into the design lives of Ray and Charles Eames. We’re running a giveaway in conjunction with the site. Just enter your email for a chance to win an Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman.
What does the Los Angeles County Museum of Art do when they need a vintage Eames Hang it All for their California Design: Living in A Modern Way exhibition? Head straight to Daniel Ostroff, editor of EamesDesigns.com, Hollywood producer and design scholar, who sources not only a vintage piece but finds it in its original box. LACMA’s request didn’t come out of the blue - in the past year San Francisco’s MOMA, Yale and the Indianapolis Museum of Art have consulted with Ostroff for design scholarship.
“When LACMA announced that they were doing a California design exhibition which overlapped with my area of focus in studying applied art I looked for ways to assist the show’s curators – my friends Wendy Kaplan, Bobbye Tigerman and Bill Stern,” says Ostroff. “With regard to Eames designs I appreciated how selective they were. They had already sourced an Eames surfboard coffee table from Joel and Margaret Chen who have been generous supporters and donors to LACMA at a very high level.”
The Chen’s Collecting Eames show which we wrote about here on Lifework is another Pacific Standard Time exhibition – this time devoted entirely to Ray and Charles Eames’ extraordinary body of work. It was the Chen’s who had the Hang It All in their extensive collection. “Connecting Bobbye and Wendy and Bill with Joel Chen was easy – we all know one another.”
Chen let the LACMA curators choose and they picked the one in the original box from the first year of production. “It is the only precisely dated example because it comes with its original box postmarked first year of production,” says Ostroff. “Plus the Eames Office designed the box and label. This is “new old stock” as the original buyer never used it.”
As a lot of you know, the contents of the Eames House living room was moved to LACMA as part of the ‘California Design‘ exhibition. The Eames Foundation is taking this chance to do some repairs on the house and is holding a few events to help raise money for that work.
This event – dubbed ‘Time Machine‘ – lets you travel back in time and see the iconic house as it looked like right before the Ray and Charles Eames moved in. “You’ll get to enjoy a glass of wine in the Eames House living room just as it was before Charles and Ray first moved in – full of possibilities,” says Eames Demetrios, Ray and Charles’ grandson.
This fundraiser is open to the public and offers a rare opportunity to visit inside the house, which is usually only open to members once a year. The tickets are $250 ($200 for members) and 100 percent of the ticket sale will go to support essential work on the house structure.
One of the exciting things about ICFF is seeing people’s reaction to new designs. When they arrive at the Herman Miller booth I love watching them sit in the chairs, stroke the mesh, squeeze the leather and generally relax. Wandering around the show is exhausting so it feels to good to offer people a bit of relief when they reach us.
What was interesting this year is we were actually going back to an original design with the re-issued Eames Aluminum Group chairs – of course, with some significant updates (technology lets us do cool things with mesh). The iconic chairs, that are so well known to Lifework readers, actually originated as outdoor furniture designed for the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana. Ha! I can hear the penny drop. So that’s why we designed the booth with the Miller House in mind. It all makes sense now. You get to see the new/old design in their natural setting – an iconic modern home with a seamless flow between indoors and out. You can read more detail about the booth and chairs here. But I thought you’d like to get a glimpse of them asap.
Today is the last day to go into the draw for the Eames plywood splint. I was at the Eames Office recently and couldn’t resist snapping their display of splints. These light weight plywood pieces were the Eames’ response to the heavy stiff metal splints that were used during WWII. About 150,000 of the Eames product were produced. When the war ended the Charles and Ray took the work they’d done with the splint and molding plywood and used it in their furniture designs.
Below is a splint proudly displayed on the living room wall of freelance writer Bill Robinson. You can read the full story on his favorite wedding present here.
Our Design For You contest continues. Here’s a peek at the work desks of Charles and Ray Eames – the designers behind our next prize, the Hang-It-All. Ray Eames designed a variety of toys and furniture pieces specifically for children, including this wall-hung coat rack in 1953 for Tigrett Enterprises Playhouse Division. It was reissued by Herman Miller in 1994.
Enter to win a Hang-It-All by going to the Design For You contest page.
Below is Charles Eames’ desk. The last image is Ray’s desk. I love the chaos of both workspaces – Ray more so than Charles!
For some people procrastination comes in the form of cleaning or tidying (see Cameron Moll’s interview for example). I wish I was that sort of a person. For me it’s all about window shopping. I find myself surfing the net looking at ‘stuff’. I can justify it as part of my job…sometimes! One of the things I’ve been shopping for lately is art. I’m fascinated by all the amazing work you can find online. So I was thrilled to get this tip from Marcia, the Discover editor. A friend of hers sent us a link to UK-based Cut Out Paper. Of course, we were drawn to the ‘Chairs‘ piece above (recognize any of those designs?) But I also really like the ‘Beetles‘ below.