Charles + Ray Eames

The American husband and wife team, Charles and Ray Eames are iconic figures in the development of modern architecture and design. 

Charles Eames was born in Missouri in 1907 and studied architecture at the Washington University in St. Louis. His career was launched by the Organic Design in Home Furnishings award, which he won with Eero Saarinen in 1940. Previously he had formed architectural practices with both Robert T. Walsh and Charles M. Gray. He was also a lecturer at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. 

Ray Eames or Bernice Alexandra Kaiser, was born in California in 1912. She studied as a painter under Hans Hofmann, until 1937. After showing her work in New York, she enrolled as a student at the Cranbrook Academy. 

After meeting at Cranbrook, the pair married in 1941.

Their work was rooted in innovation through the new application of modern materials. It is evident in their design of 1941 to 1943, a moulded plywood leg splint, utilising the industrial material for a human use during the war. This practicality and experimentation with modern material translated into their furniture. 

In 1955 the couple designed and built their home, as part of the case study house programme. Now known as the Eames house, it was founded on the principles that modernism was accessible to all. The house built using standardised materials ordered from a catalogue and overseen by them on site. This accessibility further emphasised as the case study programme stipulated affordable costs for each project. 

Their ideas and designs consistently celebrated with exhibitions across the world. 

Charles died in 1973, followed by Ray in 1988.


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