Charles Eames was born Charles Ormond Eames in St.Louis, Missouri on the 17th June 1907. Bernice Alexandra “Ray” was born in Sacramento in 1912. Together they became one of last century’s most innovative designer duo’s, often choosing to combine their skills on projects such as their career defining Plywood and Lounge chair creations. For part of her professional life, Ray a noted painted, created a number of covers for the magazine Art and Architecture between 1944 and 1947. Below are a just a couple examples of these:
1945-6 Molded Plywood Chair
While working as a set designer for MGM, Charles ‘smuggled’ plywood, rubber and glue out of the studio to collaborate on a furniture project with his second wife Ray. The result: the ‘revolutionary’ molded Plywood range that would come to include the LCW, DCW, DCM and LCM.
Above: Various examples of the original Molded Plywood Chair which would later be offered with metal legs.
1950 DSX, DSW & DSR
The DSW chair is molded from a single sheet of plastic (ABS or polypropylene plastic) and can be molded with armrests, such as the DAX, DAR and DAW.
1956 The Lounge Chair
In 1956 Charles and Ray Eames gifted Billy Wilder an Austrian born American filmmaker, artist, screenwriter, journalist and producer a chair. The handmade, bespoke and luxurious chair indicated a move away from their usual economical mass-manufactured approach. The Lounge Chair was opulent, spoke of comfort and would become one of their most expensive pieces of interior design. The original inspiration for the 670 and 671 model was the traditional English club chair with footstool.
1969 The Soft Pad
Renowned for pushing the boundaries of design to include practicality as well as comfort the Soft Pad chair has become an iconic office chair that has been reproduced by a number of times by various companies and in various colours. The Soft Pad chair came about when the Eames’ friend Eero Saarinen asked them to design a chair for J.Irwin Miller. They came up with a design that was a ‘major departure from the concept of the chair as a solid shell” with the added suspension of the seat-back. The soft chair was made from 60 per cent recycled materials and 90 per cent of the chair was recyclable.