Charles Eames is a renowned designer of the 20th century. He is also distinguished as one of the most creative people of his time. He initially attended washington university to practice architecture but was soon expelled due to his divergent modernist thinking. He then attended the cranbrook academy of art in michigan. After many years of struggle he founded the eames office with his wife, ray eames. Together they created a variety of products ranging from architecture, furniture to documentaries. His industrial designs have played a key role in shaping the modernist theories of today. He believed in ‘learning by doing’ and involved an elaborate thought process behind every design that he made.
1. Eames House
Located in los angeles on a hillside, this house was constructed by charles and ray eames as their residence and studio. This house along with the entenza house was built as a part of a case study program and published in the arts and architecture magazine. Therefore, this house was not only constructed to adhere to the personal needs of the eames, but also to portray a universal modernist residential design. Set amidst the natural environment, it was described by eames as a re-orienter, a solution to typical living problems.
2. Entenza House
This residence was built alongside the eames house. It was constructed from glass and steel as a specimen of low-cost housing. Although the modular house was built of a steel frame, the frame was concealed with wooden cladding, in contrast to the other minimalist houses of its time.
3. Griffith Park Railroad
Inspired by the victorian railway architecture and typography, this project was dedicated to charles’s love for trains and children. Everything from the station, station house to the graphics for the posters and signage for the park was designed by eames.
4. St. Mary’s Paragould, Arkansas
This church was one of the early pioneers in charles’s career. As the church community came up with the impossible task of designing a traditional church building with a limited budget, charles stepped in for the aid. The church is a perfect blend of romanesque revival and the contemporary architectural style.
5. Designs for WWII
With the onset of world war ii, charles and ray eames constructed a variety of parts for the us. Ranging from parts of aircraft to arm and leg splints, they created exceptional designs. They chiefly experimented with plywood, which later paved the way to their exquisite plywood furniture designs.
6. Eames Lounge Chair Wood (LCW)
Having gained expertise in working with plywood after ww ii, charles started his quest with furniture design. Initially, he tried to create a plywood chair with a single shell, but the material could not be curved as desired. Subsequently, he came up with the design of eames lounge chair wood in which he created the chair with two separate pieces of plywood. These formed the seat and the backrest and were joined by a plywood spine and rested on plywood legs. In 1999, the lws was titled as ‘the greatest design of 20th century’ by the time magazine.
7. Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Seen as the epitome of luxury and comfort, this product was designed by charles and ray eames in 1956. It came in two parts, the chair and the ottoman finely crafted from wood and leather. It is considered as one of the finest luxury furniture designs in the world even today.
8. La Chaise
An icon of organic furniture design, this chair was created for the ‘international competition for low-cost furniture design’. It was named after the sculptor la chaise due to its elegance and function. It consists of two fibreglass shells and rests on a wooden base.
9. Aluminium task chair
The aluminium task chair was created as a part of the aluminium group, a series of furniture specifically designed for office use. The seatback suspension that came with this chair was unheard of and grew popular in no time. In this chair, the elegant aluminium frame supports the synthetic mesh seat, whose material has changed significantly over the years.
10. Wire chairs
The design for these chairs was inspired by wired trays, baskets and rat traps. The chairs were made of an intricate frame of wires that has two cushions joined together for a seat and a backrest. Available in a variety of designs, these are still one of the bestsellers, sold by herman miller and vitra.
11. Hang it all
The hang it all was created as a wonderful and vibrant alternative to typical coat hangers. It consists of a frame of wires that is mounted by multiple coloured balls that act as hooks. This design was made lively to encourage the habit of hanging coats amongst children and adults.
12. House of cards
Charles had always been very fond of toys and children. This compelled him to experiment with the production of a variety of toys. He believed that toys and games were preludes to serious ideas. The house of cards was a deck of 54 cards. Each card was designed differently with pictures of plants and animals to invoke the creative thought process in children.
In addition to various industrial products, charles and ray eames also produced many beautiful documentaries. The house is a documentary that revolves around their home, the eames house. It portrays the significance of various elements that beautify and complete their home.
14. Powers of ten
This documentary is yet another wonderful piece of art created by the eames. It deals with the relative size of things in the universe. The film starts with a couple on a picnic and zooms out from the picnic spot in an aerial view in multiples of ten.
15. How to build an eames shell chair
This short film details the excellent craftsmanship involved in the manufacturing of the eames shell chair. It illustrates the materials used, the construction techniques and the tools involved in the production of the chair from scratch.