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Charles Eames (1907–1978) and Ray Kaiser Eames (1912–1988) were a creative couple renown for their furniture design and architecture, as well as textiles, photography, and film. They also worked in education, making public exhibitions on science and technology topics, sometimes in partnership with IBM. Their collaborative oeuvre contributed to the development of postwar American modernism and Californian style.
Charles and Ray Eames met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where Charles was a teacher and head of the industrial design department. Soon after they married and relocated to Los Angeles and set up their Eames Office - a studio and laboratory in an old garage at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, where they would spend the rest of their careers working together. It was here that they experimented with industrial production processes and new materials like plastics and plywood. In particular they utilized a wood moulding technique to create their iconic Eames Lounge Chair, which gave rise to other iterations, like the Aluminum Group Chairs and Tandem Sling Seating. It was with their domestic interiors that Charles and Ray Eames fused craft and design in a particularly modern fashion.
Alongside their design, which included items as varied as plywood splints and stretchers, the Eames’ architecture captured the spirit of mid century modernism. In 1949, as part of the experimental Case Study Houses project, Charles and Ray were commissioned by John Entenza’s Arts & Architecture magazine to design a residential home. The resulting Eames House, was an open plan, multipurpose, box like structure, over looking the Pacific Ocean and constructed from glass and steel frames intended for more industrial use.
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