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Charles and Ray Eames

Charles Eames born in 1907 developed an interest in architecture, design and engineering early in life and later started working in an architects’ office. Then in 1930, Charles opened his own office where he began to extend his design interests and ideas beyond architecture, soon receiving a fellowship to Cranbrook Art Academy in Michigan where he later became the head of the design department.

Ray Kaiser Eames born in 1912 studied painting with Hans Hoffman in New York prior to moving to Cranbrook Art Academy where she met Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen and assisted them in their work designing for MoMA’s Organic Furniture Competition. The moulded curved plywood designs by Charles and Eero achieved two first prizes and this was just the beginning of the Eames’ work with attempting to produce compound curves in moulded plywood.

Charles and Ray married in 1941 and moved to California where they opened the Eames office and continued their work with moulding plywood. Following the US military commissioning them to produce moulded wooden splints and stretchers for the war, in 1946, the Eames’ furniture went into production at Evans Products. Their moulded plywood chair became known as “the chair of the century”. Production was eventually taken over by Herman Miller who continues to produce Eames furniture in the US to this day, now along with Vitra who produces their furniture in Europe showing that Eames furniture is ever popular.

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