Charles and Ray Eames
Issue Date: June 17, 2008
City: Santa Monica, CA
Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988) Eames were pioneers in the field of modern design. Best known for their innovative furniture designs, the couple also made groundbreaking contributions in architecure, filmmaking, exhibit design, and more. Although the Eameses applied their design skills in many different areas, they used the same philosophy to create a recognizable continuity.
After meeting at Michigan’s Cranbrook Art Academy, Charles and Ray fell in love, married, and moved to California. In a spare room of their apartment, they began experimenting with furniture design. Believing good design should be available to everyone, the couple explored the possibilities of using inexpensive materials to create high-quality products. Using “Kazam!”, a homemade plywood-bending machine, the Eameses turned plywood, almost like magic, into curvy body-friendly shapes. Their plywood chair was the first of a series of chairs which were as beautiful to look at as they were comfortable. Using fiberglass-reinforced plastic, metal mesh, and aluminum, the Eameses developed chairs from new materials that earned them a place in design history. With boundless curiosity and a sense of fun, the Eameses realized their goals of improving lives through well-designed furniture and educational films and exhibits.
In 2008, the U.S. Postal Service honored Charles and Ray Eames with a sheet of 16 commemorative stamps showcasing their important contributions to American Design.