The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity is a new non-profit organization that aims to bring forward the design processes and problem-solving approaches of the two renowned designers with the purpose of equipping a new generation of creatives with the tools for tackling today's challenges. Through archival exhibitions, storytelling, and other programming, the institution will demonstrate the Eameses' iterative process and highlight the lessons to be passed on from their methodology, making a vast collection of objects, prototypes, and personal archives available to the public.
Charles & Ray Eames: The Latest Architecture and News
On the heels of the Eames Office’s 80th anniversary marked by an exhibition and a Ray-inspired sneaker, director Eames Demetrios spoke to Metropolis about the matriarch who continues to inspire design.
In celebration of its eight decades of design history, Eames Office recently inaugurated a new exhibition at Design Gallery Isetan The Space in Tokyo, rememorating Charles and Ray Eames’ human-centred design philosophy. Featuring classic furniture designs, archival works, recreated architectural models as well as new projects developed with brands like Herman Miller, Vitra, Ravensburger or Reebok, The 80 Years of Design exhibition illustrates the prolific and highly diverse work of the studio, highlighting the value of its designs for contemporary living.
Charles (June 17, 1907 – August 21, 1978) and Ray Eames (December 15, 1912 – August 21, 1988) are best known for their personal and artistic collaboration and their innovative designs that shaped the course of modernism. Their firm worked on a diverse array of projects, with designs for exhibitions, furniture, houses, monuments, and toys. Together they developed manufacturing processes to take advantage of new materials and technology, aiming to produce high-quality everyday objects at a reasonable cost. Many of their furniture designs are considered contemporary classics, particularly the Eames Lounge & Shell Chairs, while the Eames House is a seminal work of architectural modernism.
How the Star System and Sexism Have Erased the Contribution of Women Architects in Intimate-Creative Partnerships
While women in architecture already face more obstacles than men in their careers, as proven by studies and research from across the globe, the disparities become even more obvious when it comes to partnerships involving both genders. In the history of the profession, there are many examples of office partnerships or collaborations that reveal the discrepancies in terms of recognition achieved by the work, reflected in awards, honors, citations, and salaries.
Many of these collaborations are between intimate couples who, as in any business partnership, design and make work decisions together. But in the particular case of architects in a heterosexual relationship, the role of the "wife" seems to have prevailed over that of collaborator, architect, or equal partner on many occasions.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has unveiled a recording of the day Ray Eames became the first woman ever to receive the Royal Gold Medal. Commemorating a historical ceremony, the audio reveals the acceptance speech of Ray Eames, during the 131st presentation of the Royal Gold Medal to the office of Charles & Ray Eames in 1979.
Architects are often bound by the will of their client, reluctantly sacrificing and compromising design choices in order to suit their needs. But what happens when architects become their own clients? When architects design for themselves, they have the potential to test their ideas freely, explore without creative restriction, and create spaces which wholly define who they are, how they design, and what they stand for. From iconic architect houses like the Gehry Residence in Santa Monica to private houses that double as a public-entry museum, here are 9 fascinating examples of how architects design when they only have themselves to answer to.
In the 1920s, Dutch-born artist Piet Mondrian began painting his iconic black grids populated with shifting planes of primary colors. By moving beyond references to the world around him, his simplified language of lines and rectangles known as Neo Plasticism explored the dynamics of movement through color and form alone. Though his red, yellow and blue color-blocked canvases were important elements of the De Stijl movement in the early 1900s, almost a century later Mondrian’s abstractions still inspire architects across the globe.
But, what is it about these spatial explorations that have captivated artists and designers for so long?
Well-known architects are easy to admire or dismiss from afar, but up close, oddly humanizing habits often come to light. However, while we all have our quirks, most people's humanizing habits don't give an insight into how they became one of the most notable figures in their field of work. The following habits of several top architects reveal parts of their creative process, how they relax, or simply parts of their identity. Some are inspiring and some are surprising, but all give a small insight into the mental qualities that are required to be reach the peak of the architectural profession—from an exceptional work drive to an embrace of eccentricity (and a few more interesting qualities besides).
This month's interactive 3D floor plan shows a simple and beautiful steel frame structure designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. The Case Study House Program, initiated by John Entenza in 1945 in Los Angeles, was conceived to offer to the public models of a low cost and modern housing. Predicting the building boom after World War II, Entenza invited renowned architects such as Richard Neutra to design and build houses for clients, using donated materials from manufacturers and the building industry.
Entenza was the editor of the monthly magazine Arts & Architecture, in which he published the ideas of the participating architects that he had invited. Two of those architects were Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames, who for Case Study House number 6, Entenza commissioned to design his own home. The house was built just a few meters away from Charles and Ray Eames’ house which the duo also constructed as part of the Case Study program.
Watch Bucky Fuller Debate Hans Hollein at Storefront For Art and Architecture's "Closed Worlds" Conference
On Saturday, February 27th, Storefront for Art and Architecture and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union will jointly present a public conference, Closed World: Encounters That Never Happened. Presenters and discussants will engage in debate and discussion and the history and future of closed systems in architecture and design.
The format of this conference invites participants to impersonate a historical figures who have been major contributors to the discourse of closed systems. Figures include Reyner Banham, Buckminster Fuller, Hans Hollein, Neil Armstrong, Jacques Cousteau, and Walt Disney, among others.
A much anticipated retrospective—The World of Charles and Ray Eames—opens today at London's Barbican Centre. The show, curated by Catherine Ince and designed by 6a architects, surveys the careers of Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988), and the extraordinary body of work prodced by the Eames Office: a ‘laboratory’, active for over four decades, in which the Eameses, their collaborators and staff produced "an array of pioneering and influential work – from architecture, furniture, graphic and product design, to painting, drawing, film, sculpture, photography, multi-media installation and exhibitions, as well as new models for education."
Watch an intimate film celebrating the creative genius of husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames, a couple widely regarded as America’s most influential designers. Best remembered for their Mid-Century Modern furniture, this documentary shows the influence that Charles and Ray had on other significant events and movements in American life, from the development of Modernism to the rise of the computer age.
Taking inspiration from Charles and Ray Eames’ House of Cards, London-based practice Populous have developed an installation for the inaugural World Architecture Festival (WAF) exhibition. Built from "hundreds of super-sized multiples of a single ‘W' form, the dramatic seven metre high installation forms the centrepiece" of an exhibition which seeks to showcase "the very best in world architecture." This year, 350 projects have been shortlisted from some the world’s best architects and designers.
The Eames Case Study House #8, usually known simply as Eames’ House, is usually presented as a kind of kaleidoscope of details. It remains one of the most exuberantly performative homes in the history of architecture, with its resident designers, Charles and Ray Eames, as the chief actors. They enacted the day-to-day as an ongoing celebration, documenting the daily rituals of work, play, and hospitality with photography and film. What this theatre of life conceals is that the Eames’ house was itself, structurally, a kind of theatre. Examining the house as an interactive Archilogic 3D model holds, for this reason, some revelations even for those for whom the house looks as familiar as an old friend.
"The role of the architect, or the designer, is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests – those who enter the building and use the objects in it." Charles Eames
Herman Miller is a furniture design and manufacturing company, which in addition to producing contemporary designs also continues manufacturing classic pieces, including those originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames. The company’s relationship with the designer duo goes back to the 1940s, when they worked together to develop the Eames' Molded Plywood chairs and the classic Chaise Lounge.
Following a long investigation into the curvature of plywood and the construction of organic forms using new technologies and materials, the pair of architects developed their Shell Chair, an iconic design that is still manufactured today. Learn more about the development of the Shell Chair and see how it is constructed, after the break.
Ray Eames (December 15, 1912-August 1988) is best known for her personal and artistic collaboration with Charles Eames, and together, their innovative designs shaped the course of modernism. Although Charles often gave the firm its public face (particularly in the male-oriented world of mid-century design), the two designers are almost always discussed as a couple and every project that their office pursued was in fact a team effort. When asked about any particular piece of furniture, for example, Ray always maintained that she contributed to the details of the design in a “million ways” and considered the overall form of each project in a critical fashion, emphasizing the collaborative nature of not just their partnership, but their entire office.