Cat ID : YLDSNR1

Charles + Ray Eames

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Charles + Ray Eames were an American husband-and-wife team whose uniquely holistic vision of design led to some of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century. Their revolutionary work in molded plywood and fiberglass changed the way furniture design could be manufactured. Today, their pieces are highly coveted and displayed in prestigious museums around the world.

The Cranbrook Academy

Charles (born in 1907) and Ray (1912) met at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1940. Charles was a fellow-turned-instructor of architecture, and Ray was continuing her studies in abstract painting. The pair married and moved to Los Angeles a year later. 

Icons In the Making

They established the Eames Office in 1942 and began designing objects they found were solutions to modern problems. Well-known for pioneering the use of plywood to create their distinctive furniture pieces, the Eameses got their start with the material while developing leg splints for wounded soldiers in World War II. The splints were so effective that the Eameses were able to use the funding from the U.S. Navy to begin experimenting more broadly with furniture prototypes, including their molded plywood DCW (Dining Chair Wood) and iconic Eames Lounge Chair, now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Mid-Century Modern Legacy

The innovative pair sought to develop accessible and easily mass-produced furniture, a common trait of the American Mid-Century Modern design era. Charles noted that the role of the designer was essentially that of “a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.” This was evident in the Eameses’ function-first approach to furniture, where their sleek and sophisticated style was simply a byproduct of the desire to make the world a better place through design.