Research Task: Charles and Ray Eames.
Fig. 1 Eames Design Process Mind Map
Charles and Ray Eames were a married couple who started working together in 1941 and revolutionised American interiors with their practical and playful designs. Charles trained as an architect and Ray as a painter, but the scope of their work went far beyond their professional training. They were always working as a team, Charles often creating the design and Ray embellishing it, making it attractive. They were active in the chauvinist era and Charles always made sure he recognised his wife’s input and stressed how the designs were the work of both, not just his. Their process involved repetitions of many steps, going backwards and forwards until the solution was found. Their mission statement said, ‘We want to make the best for the most for the least.’ It sums up they wanted to deliver quality, affordable, mass produced goods, that anyone can have.
Play was an important part of their processes. They must have realised that letting go and just playing let their creative juices flow.
In the Design Q&A Interview Charles Eames described their design process as solution to problems, response to the need. He also mentions drawing on precedent work as necessary tool. He considered design usually to be a result of group work.
I admire them and their work, the whole story of their lives, how they first came to establish the Eames Office (funds came from government contract – they solved a problem for the army during WW2 by designing plywood splints that were lighter than metal and didn’t use this valuable during conflict years material), how they worked together and how through play and hard work created so many iconic pieces.
I think the important part in all this for me is the realisation how important the ‘play’ in design is and to get lost in the ‘play’ tasks coming up. Also, to recognise the need and then repeat the design process steps as many times as necessary, until it works and the problem has been solved.
List Of Illustrations:
Fig. 1 Shuttleworth, A (2021) Eames Design Process Mind Map. [Digital Drawing / Mind Map] In possession of: the author: Epsom.
Ostroff, D. (2016) ‘Why did Charles and Ray Eames Make Models’ At: Why Did Charles and Ray Eames Make Models | Eames Office (Accessed 04/07/2021)
‘The Eames Creative Process’ (2016) [Online video] At: The Eames Creative Process – YouTube (Accessed 04/07/2021)
Cook, W. (2017) ‘Charles and Ray Eames: The couple who shaped the way we live.’ In: BBC Culture 18/12/2017. At: Charles and Ray Eames: The couple who shaped the way we live – BBC Culture (Accessed 04/07/2021)
Sorene, P. (2017) Charles Eames’ 30 Answers To ‘What Is Design?’ (1969). At: Charles Eames’ 30 Answers To ‘What Is Design?’ (1969) – Flashbak (Accessed 04/07/2021)
‘Design Q & A with Charles Eames’ (2011) [Online video] At: Design Q & A with Charles Eames – YouTube (Accessed 04/07/2021)