Ray Eames was born as Bernice Alexandra Kaiser in Sacramento, California, in 1912. She studied painting at the Art Students League and the Hans Hofmann School in New York.
In 1940 she matriculated at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she met and assisted Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen in preparing designs for the Museum of Modern Art's competition "Organic Design in Home Furnishings". Their main design, an armchair with a seat and back made of a single piece of three-dimensionally shaped plywood, was awarded a prize but turned out to be unsuitable for mass production.
Ray and Charles married in 1941 and moved to Los Angeles where Charles worked as a set designer for MGM Studios and Ray designed covers for "Art & Architecture Magazine".
In 1946 MoMA exhibited "New Furniture Designed by Charles Eames", showing prototypes of the plywood furniture designed till then by Eames's office. They included the "Lounge Chair, Metal (LCM)" and the "Lounge Chair, Wood (LCW)", which is made of several molded wooden elements. The "LCW" was based on a 1940 design and a further development of it with arms became the prototype of the famous and elaborate Lounge Chair "No. 670" with the "No. 671" footstool (1956).
In 1949, Charles and Ray designed and built their own home in Pacific Palisades, California, as part of the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts and Architecture Magazine. Their design and innovative use of materials made this house a mecca for architects and designers from all over the world.
Later Ray and Charles Eames were also experimenting with fiber glass. They created the revolutionary "Plastic Shell Group" and the elegant curvilinear chair "La Chaise" (1948), which Charles Eames had submitted to the MoMA "Low-cost Furniture Design" competition, the "Dining Armchair Rod (DAR)", and the "Rocking Armchair Rod (RAR)" (1948-1950).
In 1958 Eames designed the "Aluminium Group", in 1960 the "Lobby Chair".
The furniture designed by Charles und Ray Eames is mainly produced by Herman Miller and Vitra.
A variety of toys, small objects, films and exhibitions were also part of the scope of the Eames Office.
Charles died in 1978, Ray died in 1988. The Eames Office still operates today, run by Charles' daughter, designer Lucia Eames, and one of her sons, Eames Demetrios, releasing their designs in furniture, film, video and other media as well as creating new products.