The Eameses are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, film and the photography.
Charles Eames (1907 -1978) was born in St. Louis. After attending Washington University in St. Louis on scholarship for two years and being thrown out for his advocacy of designer/architect Frank Lloyd Wright, he began working in an architectural office.
In 1930, Eames started his own architectural office. He began extending his design ideas beyond architecture and received a fellowship to Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he eventually became head of the Design department.
Bernice Alexandra “Ray” Kaiser Eames (1912–1988) was born in Sacramento. She studied painting in NYC before moving on to Cranbrook Academy where she met and assisted Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen in preparing designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Furniture Competition. Charles Eames and Eero’s designs, created by molding plywood into complex curves, won them the two first prizes.
Charles and Ray married in 1941 and moved to Los Angeles where they continued their furniture design work with molding plywood. During WW II they were commissioned by the U.S. Navy to produce molded plywood splints, stretchers, and experimental glider shells. In 1946, Evans Products began producing the Eameses’ molded plywood furniture. Their molded plywood chair is considered the greatest piece of furniture of the 20th century. It continues to be produce today.
In 1949, the Eameses designed and built their own home in Pacific Palisades, as part of the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine. Their design and innovative use of materials made the house a mecca for architects, designers and their fans. Today, it is considered one of the most important post-war residences anywhere in the world.