The Work of Charles & Ray Eames

19.09.1997 - 04.01.1998

Charles and Ray Eames had a major influence on 20th century culture that extended well beyond design and architecture. With their houses, furniture, exhibitions, films, books, and prints, the architect/design duo played a decisive part in the modernization of the United States in the post-War years. Throughout their careers, they focused primarily on finding answers to the simple question how the basic human needs for living space, comfort and knowledge could best be met.
By means of exhibits such as the famous Lounge Chair (1956), the Aluminum Chair (1958) as well as countless other originals, prototypes, films and prints, the exhibition “The Work of Charles & Ray Eames" illustrated just how wide-ranging and complex their oeuvre was. Alongside the couple's biographies, by means of thematic groups (furniture, space, aesthetics, culture, science, biography), the exhibition offered viewers insights into the tasks and challenges which Charles and Ray Eames took up in their work.
The furniture items that have long since been considered classics show in exemplary fashion the symbiosis of aesthetics, quality and economic which the Eames aspired to achieve in all the products they devised. They were the first designers to successfully experiment with three-dimensional moulding of wooden laminate, to create a chair with an ergonomic seat shell made of plastic, and to develop wire mesh seat shells as a high-grade mass-produced article. In total, over 40 of their highly flexible and diverse furniture systems for offices, private residences and public institutions went into production. Numerous groups of chairs designed for the Herman Miller Furniture Company were both commercial and popular successes. It was for this company that Charles and Ray Eames designed the Dining Chair made of pressure moulded plywood, the DSS made of fibreglass-reinforced plastic, and the Wire Chair made of wire mesh. In 1956, the Eames dreamed up one of their best-known objects: the Lounge Chair with its padded seat shell. Despite their functional superiority, the Eames' furniture designs were always likewise sculptural objects whose biomorphic visual idiom is eternally beautiful and is today a present enjoying a veritable Renaissance among numerous interior designers. In their capacity as architects, Charles and Ray Eames devised new forms of living for the 20th century. "Case Study House No. 8" – the Eames' personal steel-and-glass residence in Los Angeles – became a prime and influential example of industrial architecture given its highly sparing use of resources, its flexibility and its effective use. It soon emerged as a form of modern living space quite prototypical for the post-War era, featuring industrially manufactures products ideally complemented by handcrafted and artistic objects.
With America's transition from the industrial to the information age, the tasks to which Charles and Ray Eames devoted themselves likewise changed. In the 1960s and 1970s, their attention shifted from architecture and furniture design to communications systems such as exhibitions, books and films.
"The Work of Charles & Ray Eames" was an exhibition organized by the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., in cooperation with Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany.

Exhibition tour

08.10.2005 - 11.12.2005, Meguro Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
16.07.2005 - 11.09.2005, Museum of Art, Ehime, Japan
14.04.2005 - 26.04.2005, Daimaru Museum, Kyoto, Japan
24.03.2005 - 04.04.2005, Daimaru Museum, Osaka, Japan
03.03.2005 - 14.03.2005, Daimaru Museum, Tokyo, Japan
02.11.2004 - 26.12.2004, Wakayama Art Museum, Wakayama, Japan
23.07.2003 - 21.09.2003, Entwicklungsgesellschaft Zollverein Essen, Essen, Germany
23.01.2003 - 04.05.2003, ARTIUM, Vitoria, Spain
23.09.2002 - 08.01.2003, Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy
09.03.2002 - 26.05.2002, Vitra Design Museum, Berlin, Germany
26.06.2001 - 30.09.2001, MAK, Vienna, Austria
22.02.2001 - 19.05.2001, TAMA, Tel Aviv, Israel
25.06.2000 - 11.09.2000, County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
19.02.2000 - 14.05.2000, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, USA
12.10.1999 - 09.01.2000, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, USA
20.05.1999 - 04.09.1999, Library of Congress, Washington, USA
15.09.1998 - 04.01.1999, Design Museum, London, Great Britain
28.05.1998 - 16.08.1998, Kunstmuseet Trapholt, Kolding, Denmark
19.09.1997 - 22.03.1998, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany

Charles & Ray Eames