Memory: Day of death of Charles and Ray Eames

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Article from the 2011-08-22

Charles & Ray Eames entered history as design icons. The 21st of August is the day of death of both designers. Together, they embossed the design of the 20th century and designed numerous products that are considered classics today. Curious: both of them died the same day – Charles Eames 1978, his wife Ray Eames exactly ten years later.

Charles Eames, born 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri, studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and opened his own office together with Charles M. Gray in 1930. In 1935 he founded another architectural firm with Robert T. Walsh. After receiving a fellowship in 1938 from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, he moved to Michigan and assumed a teaching position in the design department the following year. In 1940, he and Eero Saarinen won first prize for their joint entry in the competition "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" organized by the New York Museum of Modern Art. During the same year, Eames became head of the department of industrial design at Cranbrook, and in 1941 he married Ray Kaiser.

Charles & Ray Eames designed and developed stretchers and leg splints made of moulded plywood between 1941-43, and showed an exhibition of experimental moulded plywood furniture at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1946. Afterwards the Herman Miller company in Zeeland, Michigan produced the Eames furniture. Vitra produces the Charles & Ray Eames furniture, among other designers such as George Nelson since 1957.

Together, Charles and Ray Eames created furniture like the Plastic Side and Arm Chairs, the Aluminium Group, the Hang it all wardrobe or the Lounge Chair, and accessories such as trays, cushions and toys that are considered as classics of American design today.

Charles Eames passed by in 1978 in Saint Louis. Ray Eames followed 1988.

Find further information about Charles & Ray Eames and their designs on the Homepage of the Eames Office.

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