Addressing the Need: PM Gallery shows graphic design legacy of the Eames Office

By Ruth Hazard | 14 September 2012
Ray and Charles Eames with model of the exhibition, Mathematica: A World of Numbers…and Beyond (1961)© Courtesy and ©2012 Eames Office
Exhibition Preview: Addressing the Need: The Graphic Design of the Eames Office, PM Gallery and House, London, September 14 – November 3 2012

Husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames were among the most important designers of the 20th century, best known for combining hand craftsmanship and innovative technology to create iconic furniture pieces such as the Lounge Chair and Ottoman.

Charles, a trained architect, and Ray, a painter, met at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1940 and, after marrying a year later, moved to Los Angeles to begin experimenting with moulding plywood into compound curves.

Although the Eames are well known furniture designers, they also produced 125 films from their office in Los Angeles such as Powers of Ten© Courtesy and ©2012 Eames Office
Their aim was to design simple, single-shelled, mass-produced chairs, which they eventually made from plastic.

In 1943, the Eames Office at 901 Washington Boulevard opened and, during the course of the next 40 years, went on to produce countless furniture designs, toys, exhibitions and films.

As part of the war effort during World War II, the pair also produced airplane parts, body splints and 150,000 leg splints. The Eames Office quickly became regarded as a place to learn, experiment and develop ideas.

Among the office objects being exhibited at PM Gallery are advertisements, announcements, invitations, brochures, pamphlets, booklets, posters and timelines interspersed with furniture, films and toys.

Layout materials also feature in the display, helping to illustrate the Eames design process.

“The exhibition examines the vigorous thought processes of two design minds uniting the structure and creativity of art and architecture,” says the gallery’s Carol Swords.

“Their design legacy is unchallenged.”

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More pictures:


Eames® Lounge and Ottoman poster (1956)© Courtesy and ©2012 Eames Office

Men of Modern Mathematics timeline poster (1966)© Courtesy and ©2012 Eames Office
Preparatory drawing for Little Toy package (1952)© Courtesy and ©2012 Eames Office
A Computer Glossary poster/brochure (1972)© Courtesy and ©2012 Eames Office

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