Architect, designer, forward thinker – Charles Eames made a lasting impression on the design world of the 20th century with his designs. And his pieces are still true classics to this day. What makes the work of the famous artist so special? How did his wife Ray Eames shape him and what was the cooperation with the Vitra brand like? You will learn about all of that and more here. In addition, you can buy your favourite Charles Eames furniture directly from us online.
To the development of the furniture designer
A child was born in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) on 17 June 1907 who would conquer the design world and permanently shape it: Charles Eames is considered one of the most influential architects and designers of the 20th century. His success story began at Washington University in St. Louis. He studied architecture there. He then went through several positions:
1930: Foundation of his own architecture firm together with Charles M. Gray
1935: Opening of another architecture firm with Robert T. Walsh
1938: Scholarship for the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the state of Michigan where Eames would later teach design
1940: Together with Eero Saarinen, first prize in the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); new position as head of the department of Industrial Design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art
1941: Marriage to Ray Kaiser, relocation to Los Angeles, founding of a joint design studio called Eames Office
1946: Presentation of furniture designs made of plywood at the MoMA
1948: Participation in the MoMA competition “Low-Cost Furniture”
1949: Construction of the famous “Eames House”
1957: Vitra started to produce some of the couple’s designs for Europe and the Middle East.
The connection to and working with Ray Eames
Charles Eames had a daughter from his first marriage with Catherine Woermann. After a period of financial hardship followed by a professional upswing, the bond between the two became increasingly strained. The designer married Ray Kaiser in the same year that his marriage with Catherine Woermann failed. Ray and Charles Eames were a true power couple after that. We can say that with good reason. Their careers are absolutely linked. Although Charles Eames often receives more media attention, his wife’s influence cannot be ignored. Because even his most famous pieces of work also bear her signature. Some artists also influenced the designs, such as:
Charles and Ray Eames are above all known for their unmistakable furniture design and their architectural designs. They were also successful in other areas:
Design of exhibition areas or advertisements
Designs of children's toys
Famous products and typical materials
Whoever deals with Charles Eames and his pieces of work will inevitably come across the name Ray Eames. The couple developed many designs together:
At the behest of the U.S. government, they began to design aircraft parts, stretchers and leg splints for the military. These could be manufactured from moulded plywood.
The award-winning Organic Chair followed later. It was not suitable for mass production. That is why the couple worked on a way to adapt plywood to human body shapes. They succeeded with the Plywood Group and larger quantities of pieces could also be produced by manufacturing the seat and back part separately.
Charles and Ray Eames used fibreglass for some of their furniture. This material was inexpensive and easy to shape. Experiments with the material laid the foundation for the Vitra DSR and the Vitra DAR chair. They also created the revolutionary Plastic Shell Group with the elegantly curved La Chaise chair from 1948. Today, however, Vitra uses polypropylene instead of fibreglass. This plastic is more environmentally friendly and recyclable.
The Lounge Chair is a design icon of the Eames couple. You can buy various versions of this at AmbienteDirect. It consists of plywood shells on a rotating steel base. It is well-suspended thanks to rubber-mounted metal supports. This armchair also comes with a matching ottoman.
The Aluminium Chair series also contains true masterpieces. The EA 101 chair, for example, is available in a wide range of fresh colours and offers particularly high seating comfort. The EA 104 version is also equipped with armrests.
Feel free to browse through the AmbienteDirect product range. You will find the products of Charles Eames here. You can conveniently order your favourites and have them delivered directly to your home. The furniture of the renowned designer gives your interior a very special class, because it is timeless, bold and unmistakable.
Charles Eames and Vitra
The collaboration with the Eames couple paved the way for Vitra as a successful manufacturer of designer furniture. Even today, the brand still asks itself what Charles and Ray would think when making important decisions. Because the two decisively influenced Vitra's style and design orientation. But how did this successful cooperation come about in the first place? It all started with a fateful taxi ride. Vitra founder Willi Fehlbaum saw a chair in a shop window from the car. He was so excited about it that he had the taxi stop immediately, went into the store and later got in touch with Hermann Miller, the producer of the aforementioned chair. In 1957, Vitra received the licence to manufacture Eames furniture. In 1984, the rights were obtained for all Eames products for Europe and the Middle East. And the rest is history. To this day, Vitra is strongly linked with the legacy and design understanding of Charles and Ray Eames.
Tip: Vitra is the only legitimate manufacturer of furniture by the designer couple. If you buy a product of the brand from our online shop, you can be sure that it is an original. Take a look at Charles and Ray Eames furniture in our product range:
You can easily order your favourite pieces online!