Three Lessons From the Masters of Mid-Century Modern
Among the figures who continue to loom large in the world of Modern Design Furniture are Charles and Ray Eames, the husband and wife pair behind such timeless pieces as the Molded Plywood Chair and Eames 3-Seat Sofa. Considered well ahead of their time even by the pioneering standards of Mid-Century Modern design, the Eameses imparted three invaluable lessons for designers across the world to appreciate.
From the very beginning, the Eames pair always had an eye on functionality. Ray Eames observed that “What works is better than what looks good… The looks good can change, but what works, works.” Hence, they made aesthetics a by-product of sensible and useful design. Chairs were made to be stacked and un-stacked, office storage was created to optimize space, and airport benches needed to withstand constant wear. Such practicality Is what made their designs so ubiquitous across the world.
As with the emphasis on utility, the Eameses wanted to create something that would and could be used by the average person. The breakout Organic Chair, created in 1939 in collaboration with famed Finnish architect Eero, as $75 at a time when the average American household made only $10,000 annually. The Eameses were determined to utilize the latest industrial techniques at the time, along with cheap but durable materials, to keep their overhead low. This commitment was strong enough that neither Charles nor Ray cared about patenting their furniture – they wanted their designs to be replicated and thus more affordable.
3. Ordinary Beauty
Undoubtedly modern designers at heart, the Eameses were certainly concerned with aesthetics. But their ideal of beauty was to find it in everyday and commonplace ways. In the world of increasingly mechanized production, they wanted to add a sense of comfort to a process that would otherwise be too cold and conformist. Hence the Eames Lounge Chair, whose molded plywood was useful for mass production, but could be given an organic and whimsical shape. This informed the Eameses’ signature style of merged svelte, clean lines, and comfortable materials. Such a careful balance is why their works continue to have design versatility.
These are just some of the principles that have made the Eameses' works – and those of the many other designers they have inspired – so amazing. Needless to say, I am proud to represent their works – such as the Molded Plastic Side Chair, the Eames Hang It All, and the Eames Elephant by Vitra – at CAModernHome.com.
Pay a visit to the CA Modern Home showroom at 1560 Lenox Ave. Suite 101 Miami Beach, Florida, opened Monday through Saturday. Feel free to contact 800.605.1859 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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