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Charles and Ray Eames: American Designers

Mr. Eames (1907-1978) and Mrs. Eames (1912-1988)

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Charles and Ray Eames in Los Angeles, 1959

Charles and Ray Eames in Los Angeles, 1959

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, #LC-E21-P564-B Ray and Charles on top of the Newly Constructed Steel Frame of the Eames House, 1949

Ray and Charles on the Newly Constructed Steel Frame of the Eames House, 1949. Photo courtesy Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, and the Vitra Design Museum.

Black and white historic 1958 photo of Ray & Charles Eames examining a modern chair prototype

Development of Aluminum Chairs, with Ray (left) and Charles (right), circa 1958

Photo courtesy Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, with the Vitra Design Museum

Husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames became famous for their furniture, textiles, industrial designs, and practical, economical house designs. The couple met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and married in 1941. They shared credit for all their design projects.

Charles Eames:

Born: June 17, 1907 in Saint Louis, Missouri
Educated: Two years in the architecture program at Washington University in St. Louis, followed by travels in Europe.
Early Career: In 1929, joined with Charles M. Gray to form the firm of Gray and Eames, which designed stained glass, textiles, furniture and ceramics.
Advanced Study: Studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he collaborated with Eero Saarinen and became head of the industrial design department.
Partnership: In 1941, married Ray Kaiser and formed a design partnership.
Died: August 21, 1978 in Saint Louis, Missouri

Ray Eames:

Born: December 15, 1912 in Sacramento, California
Birth Name: Bernice Alexandra Kaiser
Educated: Studied painting under Hans Hofmann in New York and in Provincetown, MA from 1933-1939, then studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan
Partnership: In 1941, married Charles Eames and formed a design partnership.
Died: August 21, 1988 in Los Angeles, California

Buildings by Charles and Ray Eames:

Charles and Ray Eames helped supply affordable housing for veterans returning to the United States after World War II. Houses designed by the Eames featured high-quality prefabricated materials that were mass produced for efficiency and affordability.

  • Eames House (Also known as Case Study House #8)
  • Kwikset Prefabricated House, prototype house kit for Kwikset Lock Company

Furniture by Charles and Ray Eames:

Charles and Ray Eames experimented with molded, flexible, adaptable furniture and storage units for homes and public spaces. They also designed the machinery and production methods needed to manufacture their furnishings. See:
Furniture by Charles and Ray Eames

About Charles and Ray Eames:

Charles and Ray Eames were among America's most important designers, celebrated for their contributions to architecture, industrial design, and furniture design. The Eameses believed that a house should be flexible enough to accommodate work and play.

The role the Eames duo played in modernizing North America is explored in A Legacy of Invention, an online exhibit from the Library of Congress.

EAMES: The Architect and the Painter, a well-received 2011 documentary by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey, is now available in DVD.
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