Eames office chairs take the spotlight in a new digital showcase

Iconic Eames office chairs designs are celebrated by the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity in a new online exhibition titled 'The Ever-Evolving Eames Aluminium Group'

Eames Office Chairs from the Aluminium group
(Image credit: Pippa Drummond, Styling by Natasha Felker)

Since their death more than 40 years ago, the legacy of Ray and Charles Eames has been kept alive by the Eames Office and its partner network, which is now joined by the recently launched Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity. The Institute’s latest exhibition celebrates the functional design of the Eames Aluminum Group. The Institute’s mission is to connect and equip its audience with the lessons and invaluable legacy that the duo has left us: ‘their work is compelling because they found in everyday objects and materials the inspiration to shape a new perspective, new forms, new purpose,’ says President and CEO, John Cary, ‘they did this fuelled by the relentless curiosity they had about the world they encountered’. 

Eames Office Chairs: a compendium

Eames Office chair taken apart

The collection's starting point was the chair's silhouette, which Charles Eames described as 'a system of connections based on tensions which served to support the body'

(Image credit: Pippa Drummond, Styling by Natasha Felker)

Hosting and taking care of thousands of pieces in the Eames Collection and through an engaging programme, the Institute also delves into in-depth exhibitions about the life of the couple and their most iconic objects. The latest online exhibition launched, Exhibit 05: The Ever-Evolving Eames Aluminium Group, celebrates the Eames office chairs by sharing the history and innovative thinking behind this collection of furniture.

Originally intended to be an outdoor furniture option for the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana (the home of Xenia and J. Irwin Miller, designed by Eero Saarinen), the collection was developed in collaboration with Alexander Girard. Devised for the gardens, then shifted to office staples, the Eames Aluminium Group has, since the end of the 1950s, become an enduring and transversal piece of furniture inhabiting our spaces. Eames’ concept and genius are illustrated in the exhibition, reminding us of a duo that defined and adapted their design for the people. 

Iconic chair designs by Ray and Charles Eames

Parts of Eames Office chairs from the Aluminium Group

The aluminium elements from the collection were produced by sand casting, a process that Charles Eames likened to artwork

(Image credit: Pippa Drummond, Styling by Natasha Felker)

Husband-and-wife design duo Ray and Charles Eames are central figures in the development of American modernism. The pair designed some of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century. Celebrated for their ingenious use of plywood and plastic, and acclaimed for their sleek and affordable design, the couple experimented in various fields. Ray (1912- 1988 - born Bernice Alexandra Kaiser) and Charles (1907-1978) were architects, artists, graphic and textile designers, and filmmakers, but most of all they were two people able to charm everyone got in contact with them. 

Their story is well known. In the 1940s, they started their careers by creating some of the most defining contributions to seating design – for instance, the DCW (Dining Chair Wood) from 1945, one of their earliest and admired moulded plywood pieces; the Eames Lounge Chair from 1956, described by Charles as ‘a special refuge from the strains of modern living’ is a masterpiece recognized internationally; and the revolutionary and enduring Aluminum Group furniture from 1958, a classic of the history of design which still furnishes countless offices around the world. While defining and characterising the design industry, the Eames aimed at making ‘the best for the most for the least’. Their vision of design for life, as something that should be for the masses, helped democratise the genre, entering many homes, offices and lives and permeating as a standard in furniture design.

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