Charles an Ray Eames are considered one of the most influential contributors to pioneering Mid-century design. Their work extended not only in furniture but film, architecture and exhibition design as well.
Charles Eames, at the start of his career, took the early two-dimensional design of molding plywood further than Alvar Aalto’s and created three-dimensional contour molded plywood. A well thought idea that combined economic material with comfort and modern appeal. He streamlined the design for manufacturing purposes, although not all of his designs turned out easy for manufacturing, the single shell chair being one of them.
Nonetheless, an impressive collection of mid-century furniture that impresses collectors all over the world till this day, came from the minds of Charles and Ray Eames. According to Eames, one of the few effective constraints is the willingness and enthusiasm to work within constraints of price, size, strength, balance, surface and time. Just to mention a few. Design is an expression of purpose and if it is good, it may as well be judged as art. Being a good designer is having a plan to arrange elements in order to accomplish a particular purpose.
At the top of the list of well-designed, organic and ergonomic pieces is the LCW, which stands for Laminated Chair Welded-Steel frame and is still being mass produced today.
In 1940, the Arts and Architecture magazine organized a case study program in which the Eames duo designed the legendary Eames house, Case Study House #8. The first pre-fabricated steel parts, hand-constructed house remains a milestone of modern architecture. To illustrate the genius of these two, we will further elaborate on a few iconic mid-century modern achievements.
The LCW plywood chair design proved difficult to manufacture at first. Eames reconfigured the design and broke the elements into pieces, thus resulting into a much simpler and cost-effective way of producing this piece of furniture which is still being produced today. A streamlined, yet elegant and comfortable eye-catcher, the LCW plywood chair is still a much desired ‘pièce du resistance’.
A mixture of plywood, metal, shapes and colors. The ESU, Eames Storage Unit, gained the rightful name of ‘working art’. The system of freestanding shelves and desks is multifunctional and stands out in a crowd.
In the 1930s and 1940s, conventional furniture consisted of bulky upholstered arch chairs and sofas, much like the ones of Louis the fourteenth in Louvre castle. There was a much needed breath of fresh air in furniture design with clean lines and modern approach. The Organic Chair, a plywood sculpture, was greeted with enthusiasm and is still an ornament in a room nowadays.
In their quest to blend industrial materials such as metal and steel into practical everyday furniture, Charles and Ray Eames introduced the Eames Wire chair. This prize winning idea is not only functional but comfortable as well.