Charles Eames (1907-1978)
architect - designer
Charles Eames studied architecture at the George Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, US, from 1924 to 1926. He opened his own office, but did not obtain a lot of success.
In 1936 he asked some architectural advise to the architect and designer Eliel Saarinen and became a close friend of him; he then was offered by him a fellowship at the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, US. There he had the opportunity to interact with important designers like Eliel Saarinen himself, his son Eero Saarinen, and Harry Bertoia. He also had the opportunity to meet the designer and painter Ray Kaiser with whom in 1941 got married and undertook important design projects that led to the foundation of the Eemes Office, the creative workshop in which the couple established their professional activity.
In 1940 with Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames submitted an innovative piece of furniture realised in moulded plywood to a competition sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art. The creation received two awards and attracted the attention of the design company Herman Miller. Charles Eemes, in partnership with Ray Eames, began a commercial collaboration with the company. The objective was the creation of furniture pieces designed in accordance with Herman Miller's mass production manufacturing techniques, and gifted with the virtue of appealing to a vast public.
The work of Charles Eames is to be considered part of the team production in partnership with Ray Kaiser (or Eames) with whom he established a set of design rules and conventions while working alongside with American government bodies that were trying to adapt and mass publish a representation of their image in the attempt to forge a different American culture.
While compromising with official institutions, however, Charles and Ray Eemes also tried to establish and communicate their own creative ideals. Inspired by the work of the world famous European designers Charoltte Perriand and Le Corbusier, they set up a scheme in which their work philosophy was based on the awareness of the relation between functionalism and success in design products devised to benefit the society by generating values. Like many other professional figures involved in industrial design experimentation they developed an understanding of the importance of achieving the production of high quality design pieces at low prices. They created a wide range of furniture that were sold in many copies.