Charles and Ray moved into their Pacific Palisades home, aka Case Study House No. 8, on Christmas Eve in 1949. For the rest of their lives, this was where they lived, worked and played, and today the interior remains very much as they left it. The Eames Foundation is taking serious efforts to conserve the property, and their work is very Eames-ish in its approach and brilliance. Next to a large tree, a small one grows, ready to take its place when the time comes. Monitoring devices – installed by Getty’s architectural conservator, the same person who developed climate control for King Tut’s tomb – are tracking the environmental conditions affecting the house. Perhaps most Eames-ish of all is the name: 250 Year Project. Rather than waiting for the house to be in crisis, the foundation is planning for future needs now. These tax-deductible limited-edition prints are original works inspired by Eames quotes or objects from the house itself. All proceeds will help support the conservation projects of the Eames Foundation. Each print is individually numbered. Made in U.S.A.
With their passion for the deep resonances between art and science, it’s no surprise that the beautiful spiral of a nautilus would command the attention of Charles and Ray. This image is recreated from one found in the Giant House of Cards designed by the Eameses in 1953, a set of which still exists inside the Eames House.
This classic Eames quote from the film Eames Contract Storage reflects a philosophy embedded in every example of work from the Eameses. It also exemplifies the Powers of Ten thinking they brought to so many of their projects. At first a bit terse, it’s actually an insightful reminder of what makes timeless design.
At the end of watching their first film Blacktop on the TV show Stars of Jazz, Charles and Ray were startled when the host announced the show would air a new film from them next week. Rather than expressing indignation, in six days they shot, and edited a 3-minute film now known as Tops from the Stars of Jazz. Like many others, it was shot at the Eames House.
Asked on film, “To whom does design address itself? To the greatest number (the masses)? The specialists? The enlightened amateur? A privileged social class?” Charles replied simply, “To the need.” One of the most concise expressions of design philosophy, the full quote serves as a perfect companion to those contemplating guiding principles.
Design is for living. That maxim shaped a widespread shift in design during the 1940s and 1950s. It was a revolution of form, an exciting visual language that signaled a new age and a fresh start and two of its prime movers were Charles and Ray Eames. The Eameses were a husband and wife team whose unique synergy led to a whole new look in furniture. Lean and modern. Sleek, sophisticated and simple. Beautifully functional.
Yet Charles and Ray Eames created more than a "look" with their bent plywood chairs or molded fiberglass seating. They had ideas about making a better world, one in which things were designed to fulfill the practical needs of ordinary people and bring greater simplicity and pleasure to our lives. Read more >