The Eames chair evokes the dynamism of The Jetsons cartoons and the bright comfort of robins’ eggs. It’s an icon of modern furniture. And it begins with a love story.
That story is told in the documentary, “Eames: The Architect and the Painter,” showing this weekend and November 13 at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago’s Loop (and narrated by the ubiquitous art-world random James Franco).
Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988) Eames met at Cranbrook Academy, where Ray helped Charles and Eero Saarinen prepare designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s “Organic Furniture Competition.” Their use of curved, molded plywood earned honors and marked the beginning of an influential body of work across film, architecture and even advertising campaigns.
Charles had an interest in engineering and architecture (he was kicked out of Washington University for being a Frank Lloyd Wright fan), and Ray studied painting with Hans Hofmann in New York before going to Cranbrook Academy.
The Eames House, which they built and lived in, solves problems familiar to today’s designers:
· How to integrate the home in nature (it was built in a meadow)
· How to maximize volume from few materials (that sounds Miesian to us)
· How to make a home that serves a life of work (their art supplies remain at the preserved home)
“Eventually, everything connects,” Charles Eames, the chair’s co-creator is known to have said. This documentary connects their ambitious range of works to their extraordinary partnership.
Photo by 13aat via Flickr› Read more