Ok, so if we were going to sit down and chat about design royalty that we absolutely froth hardcore over Charles and Ray Eames would be one of the first names tumbling out of our little excited mouths. Right now though, we wanna have a round of applause for Ray Eames, the diminutive, energetic, witty woman who equally drove Eames Design and created a whole new look for furniture.
Briefly, if you haven’t heard of Eames you may have been living under a rock but you have definitely seen their work and influence. Dubbed arguably the most creative design office in post WWII America, Eames Design was an American husband/wife design duo (a rare business synergy for the 40’s), who together approached furniture, houses, monuments and exhibitions from a completely innovative and exciting angle. By using new materials like molded plywood, fibreglass-enforced plastic, bent and welded wire mesh and cast aluminium the Eames’ created lean, modern, sleek and beautifully functional design that would be revered for generations to come.
Ray studied abstract expressionist painting in New York City under Hans Hofmann before leaving for Michigan where she studied at the Art Academy. Here she met her teacher, mentor and future husband Charles Eames who she wed and fled to California with. An extraordinary personal and artistic collaborative relationship unfurled resulting in eventually starting Eames Design studio.
What is so incredible about the pair, is that they maintain that each had equal, intertwined input in projects. But there is no doubt that Ray was a huge contributor in the way of graphic artwork and design. With her joyful and rigorous work ethic, in the first years of the practice being underway she was still designing acclaimed textiles and commercial illustrations before throwing herself completely into the teamwork required to build Eames. She loved found objects and incorporated them into their modernist design concepts whenever she could, rekindling an appreciation for “Victorian Clutter”.
Charles was known to say “anything I can do, Ray can do better”, and when Charles died Ray passed exactly 10 years later to the day. Excuse us while we pick up the pieces of our melted hearts and recline on an imaginary Eames sofa to fan ourselves a little while. Beautiful.