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The World of Charles and Ray Eames Exhibition – Barbican

Today I visited The World of Charles and Ray Eames Exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London. This is one of the first exhibitions that I have been to that I have found myself able to connect with. One of the things that surprised me was the fact that Charles and Ray Eames were multitalented designers, not only focused on furniture design, but architecture, art, graphics, interior design, film making and photography as well.

I liked how the exhibition showed a large amount of multitalented work by Charles and Ray Eames as it offers a lot of different pieces to look at. I think that the exhibition space at the Barbican Centre a good choice for the large amount of the Eames’ work that needs to be displayed in the exhibition. I also like the fact that the exhibition contains more variation that just pictures on the walls, it is much more inspiring than any other exhibition that I have been to partly because objects are displayed in different formats including posters, photographs, models and finished design pieces. I like how the finished pieces of work are accompanied by sketches, plans and scale models showing how the Eames’ carefully considered all of their designs.

For me, the exhibition is not too text heavy enabling the exhibition to focus more on the Eames’ design work which worked well for me personally as I learn better visually and find large amounts of text less memorable.

I would say that there is a modern style to the exhibition with not too much on display for the space that it is in, and for me everything that is displayed fits with the exhibition in giving an insight into the Eames’ design work. I found that this along with correct spacing of their work was good as it allowed me time to take in all of the information at my own pace. Additionally, I found it useful that the walls were plain, using white, black and grey as it kept my focus on the displays rather than what could be going on around them, allowing the work to fully stand out. I think that this supported the modern style of the exhibition.

In my opinion the main themes of the exhibition are the contrast between light and dark which is the more obvious theme as the spaces are light and dark with lit areas, optimism and positivity because that is the sense gained from their work and a view through the past, present and future because of the visual development of their work throughout the exhibition. These themes complement each other well as I believe that some ways they all have very similar meanings. Light can be seen as optimism or positivity as can light coming from a dark background. And the Eames’ design development through past, present and future can be seen as positive because of the impact and popularity it still has today.

I really liked the layout as it was in a very logical order and had clearly been considered by the exhibition designer leaving me happy to walk around because it flowed well. The first part of the exhibition space that you come to is the Eames’ plywood chairs which the Eames are most famous for, giving the public something that they would expect and hope to see. This is followed by the Eames’ architecture and interior design work. I was particularly fascinated by an architectural model of a house that the Eames’ designed and had built. This was followed by their graphic work, photography, toys and more chair designs.

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