Historical designers you need to know: Charles Eames

September 03, 2015

 

If you love designer furniture and have an interest in interior design, learning about pioneers in this area can help you appreciate their work even more.

At Space & Shape, we stock a varied range of beautiful designer replica furniture, which allows you to add style and flair to your home without breaking your bank. This also means you can own a little piece of history, as our furniture is designed by a number of hugely influential people.

We take care in selecting the designers we stock, as well as each individual piece, by choosing iconic and timeless styles. One of the designers whose replicas we stock is Charles Eames.

Early life

Charles Eames has become well-known for his huge contributions to furniture design, as well as photographic arts, architecture and industrial design.

Born in St Louis, Missouri, US in 1907, Eames grew up with an interest in architecture and engineering. He received a scholarship to the Washington University in St Louis, where he studied for only two years.

He opened his own architectural office in 1930, a year after marrying his first wife Catherine Woermann. He was able to expand his designs past the architecture that was typical in this period.

Following this, he was offered a fellowship at Cranbrook Academy to study architecture, where he later became head of design. It was here that he met Ray Keiser in 1940 and began working in collaboration with her on projects. The two soon fell in love, causing Eames to divorce his wife and marry Ray just a month later.

Charles and Ray

The couple moved to Los Angeles after their wedding, with Eames beginning work at MGM and Ray creating covers for the California Art and Architecture magazine. When they weren't at work, they conducted experiments using plywood to make a mix of chairs, sculptures, toy animals, screens and tables.

Working together, they were able to create designs that had not previously been seen. These would go on to shape American living at the time and continue to influence art and design today.

It was the US furniture group Herman Miller that first placed some of the Eames's designs into production. It didn't take long for the company to see how popular the pieces were, with the use of organic aesthetics alongside technical designs and an obvious love of materials offering customers something completely new and fresh.

After their experiments in plywood, the Eames' went on to work with aluminium, plastic and fibreglass. This led to a range of iconic and elegant ranges - including the Lounge and Aluminium Series.

The couple continued to work long days even after achieving commercial success, usually not leaving the studio even to eat. They continued in this way until Charles passed away in 1978, at which time Ray worked to finish their projects but did not take on any new ones. She passed away exactly ten years after Eames in 1988.

Influences

One thing that Eames was passionate about was showing how everyday objects could be just as beautiful as expensive and precious pieces. This was shown through the construction of the Eames House - a simple steel structure that took just five men 16 hours to build - and the items that they filled it with.

In fact it was a well-used baseball glove that inspired the very first Eames Lounge Chair. This was one of his leather creations that was designed for total comfort.

According to Eames, it was the look and feel of a glove he had as a child that led to his design. He thought of the chair as being the glove and the human body being the baseball, in that it would just sink comfortably and be totally supported by the chair.

Not only did the comfort of the chair take its inspiration from this, but the look of the product did too. Eames mixed gently curving plywood with soft leather that was well polished, ensuring it looked open and inviting.

It was things like this that led to the design of all of Eames' furniture, ensuring that his furniture was practical as well as attractive, with comfort being the continuous influence across all his design.

We currently stock a range of Charles Eames chairs, all of which have beautifully clean designs and iconic style. They're sure to be a beautiful addition to any room.


    Author

    Joanna Carter

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