Eames, Charles

Eames, Charles

(āmz), 1907–78, American designer, b. St. Louis, Mo. He opened his own architectural practice in 1930 and in the late 30s studied with Eliel SaarinenSaarinen, Eliel
, 1873–1950, Finnish-American architect and city planner, resident of the United States after 1923. In Finland, Saarinen's most celebrated building was the railway station in Helsinki.
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 at the Cranbrook Academy, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., later teaching there, and becoming head of the design department. In 1941 he married Cranbrook colleague Ray Kaiser Eames, 1912–88, b. Sacramento, Calif., and they settled in S California. Together they created some of 20th-century America's most influential designs for furniture, interiors, fabrics, toys, and other consumer goods, most manufactured with mass-production techniques. Most famous is the stackable "Eames chair," with its molded-plywood back and seat and stainless steel legs. In 1949 they designed their now iconic Pacific Palisades home. They also worked in photography and film, making dozens of short films, e.g., Powers of Ten (1977), and designed numerous museum exhibitions.

Bibliography

See M. and J. Neuhart and R. Eames, Eames Design (1989); P. Kirkham, Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century (1995); D. Albrecht, ed., The Work of Charles and Ray Eames (1997); J. Barkley, Eames House (2001); E. Demetrios, An Eames Primer (2002).

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Eames, Charles

(1907–78) architect, designer; born in St. Louis, Mo. After early studies and practice in architecture, he taught at Cranbrook Academy of Art (1937–40). There he collaborated on modern furniture design with the Saarinens and student Ray Kaiser (c. 1916–1988), whom he married in 1941. Initially a painter and sculptor, Ray Kaiser Eames formed an innovative design partnership with her husband (1941–78) that produced molded plywood chairs, modular storage units, knock-down furniture, graphics, interiors, exhibit displays, and experimental films. Their 1941 California move led to a workshop designing military leg splints, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. film sets, and in 1947 their own landmark Santa Monica house of prefabricated parts. The 1956 molded plywood, leather-upholstered, pedestal-mounted Eames Lounge Chair 670 with ottoman was their most enduring creation.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.