Charles & Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames were an American architect and designer duo who were pioneers in both fields. Today they are considered modern icons. The pair trained at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where they also became acquainted with other design legends such as Eero Saarinen.
The Eames’ vision of both design and architecture was very modern. Charles was forced to leave Washington University, where he studied before coming to Cranbrook, because, as one professor put it, "His views were too modern”. Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri. He already showed an interest in engineering and architecture in his early years. After leaving Washington University, Charles started his own architectural practice in 1930, exploring the fundamentals of design, which led to an invitation to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Charles' innovative designs eventually resulted in him becoming head of the design department.
Ray Kaiser Eames was born in 1912 in Sacramento, California. During her youth, she studied painting in New York under Hans Hofmann. She later joined the Cranbrook Academy, where she met her future husband Charles Eames and the future designer Eero Saarinen. Together, the three created art for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1949, Charles and Ray married and continued to create modern furniture design together.
In 1948, the couple designed a house for themselves, the Eames House in Los Angeles, which today ranks as one of the most important works of modern architecture. The couple designed numerous pieces of furniture, and the Eames Lounge Chair from 1956 is now one of the world's most famous pieces of furniture. Other prominent works include the Eames Plastic Chair, the Occasional Table, the Eames Elephant and the playful Hang it All pendant, all produced by Vitra. Charles and Ray Eames were awarded several honours throughout their careers, and in 1979 they were awarded the prestigious Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The award has been bestowed on the world's most influential architects since 1848. In 1985, the pair received the Most Influential Designer of the 20th Century award from the Industrial Designers Society of America.