Charles Eames, USA (1907-1978)
They are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design (e.g., the Eames Chair), industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts.
Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended school there and developed an interest in engineering and architecture.
After attending Washington University on scholarship for two years and being thrown out for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright, he began working in an architectural office.
In 1929, he married his first wife, Catherine Woermann (they divorced in 1941), and a year later Charles' only child, daughter Lucia was born. In 1930, Charles started his own architectural office. He began extending his design ideas beyond architecture and received a fellowship to Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he eventually became head of the design department.
Charles and Ray married in 1941 and moved to California where they continued their furniture design work with molding plywood. During the war they were commissioned by the Navy to produce molded plywood splints, stretchers and experimental glider shells.
In 1946, Evans Products began producing the Eameses' molded plywood furniture. Their molded plywood chair was called "the chair of the century" by the influential architectural critic Esther McCoy. Soon production was taken over by Herman Miller, Inc ., who continues to produce the furniture in the United States to this day.
Another company, Vitra International , manufactures the furniture in Europe.
In 1949, Charles and Ray designed and built their own home in Pacific Palisades, California as part of the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts and Architecture Magazine. Their design and innovative use of materials made this house a mecca for architects and designers from all over the world. It is considered one of the most important post-war residences built anywhere in the world.
On Billy Wilder’s set: The things the Eames trained their lenses on
Did you know that Charles Eames took photos on his friend Billy Wilder’s movie sets? A current exhibition reveals his photographic work – and much more besides.› To the article
A chair of distinction
Plastic Chairs for all! How one 1950s chair design became an expression of the desire for individuality that shapes our times.› To the article
How the gods live
Even the architecture gods of classical Modernism are only people, each in his own way. This can be seen -- and smelled - from the houses they lived in. A visit to the Eames House near Los Angeles and to Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan.› To the article