“Eames: Beautiful Details” celebrates the seamlessness and fluidity in which Charles and Ray Eames operated as both a husband-and-wife team and as designers unrestricted by traditionally professionally boundaries. Select details of their life and work, from their refined designs to their innovative experiments, and even including images depicting the everyday poetic moments of their lives, and are shared here in this exhibit within a book.
Inspired by Charles’s immersive and original slideshows, in which he expertly selected and grouped images together that communicated information in an aesthetic, direct, and accessible way, this book strives to visually created the Eameses’ life and work by taking the viewer through a delightful journey, focusing on their “beautiful details.”
The packaging design of the “Eames: Beautiful Details” slipcase is a pattern inspired by the triangles and colors of one of their most inventive, if lesser-known, designs for children, simply called, “the toy.” It also pays homage to the patterns they used on their well-loved House of Cards. The Eameses brought a sense of humor and joy to everything they created, and the design and layout of the book aims to convey that spirit in a visual feast for the eyes.
It is a testament to the Eameses and the lasting value of good design that their Eames lounge chair, created in 1956, endures today as perhaps the most recognizable and coveted piece of mid-century furniture design. Their experiments in technological innovations, like molded plywood and fiberglass, resulted in such classic pieces as the bent plywood LCW and DCM Chairs, the Molded Plastic Chairs, and the Aluminum Group; all of which are still in production by Herman Miller.
Likewise, Charles and Ray designed and built their own home in 1949 in Pacific Palisades, and it is still revered as a landmark of modern architecture. Built as part of the Case Study program in California, sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, it was one of the earliest experiments in pre-fab construction, using off-the-shelf industrial parts. But unlike the austerity of much of modern architectural design, their factory-like shell was lovingly lived in along with their personal collections of folk art, treasures from their travels, and everyday objects refreshingly displayed with affection and without pretense.
In exhibition design as well, “Mathematica: A World of Numbers … and Beyond, 1961,” for IBM is considered groundbreaking as an interactive, educational, and experiential way to communicate the wonder and magic of math. Similarly, their seminal film, Powers of Ten, 1977, expresses the mathematical concept of multiplying to the tenth power, in a very direct, simple, and powerful way.