Charles and Ray Eames
Americans, 1907 - 1978 / 1912 - 1988
Charles and Ray (born Bernice Kaiser) Eames were an American couple of designers, most famous for their iconic chairs.
Recommended by the Finnish architects, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames studied architecture and taught industrial design at Cranbrook Academy of Art (Michigan). It was there that he met Ray, who became his second wife in 1941. Together, they worked on new material called plywood and developed the “Kazam! Machine”, a press for moulding plywood. When World War Two broke out, they were commissioned by the US army to create a limb splint made out of plywood, which turned out to be extremely practical. That splint became a template for their work. “We don’t do ‘art’ – we solve problems”, explained Charles Eames.
After the war, a new generation of middle-class Americans wanted new, attractive furnishings. The new materials and techniques, developed in their design studio “Eames Office” in Los Angeles, allowed the Eames’ couple to conceive easily replicable, economical yet aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic pieces of furniture. Their motto was simple: “We want to make the best for the most for the least”. Their talent was prodigious and abundant and their modernist mass-produced creations became the style of mid-century American households.