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Charles & Ray Eames

Emmanuelle Vidal finds for you the most beautiful pieces of the second half of the XXth century.

Charles Eames (1907 - 1978) was an American architect, industrial designer and avant-garde designer, innovating new production techniques such as moulded plywood and fibreglass.

He began his architectural studies at Washington University in St. Louis and then in Michigan, where he later became a professor of industrial design at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts. In 1941, Charles Eames won his first competition, organised by MoMA, with Eero Saarinen. That same year, he met Ray Kaiser (1912 - 1988), his future wife. The couple moved to Los Angeles in California and created their design studio in 1943: the Eames Office. Together, Charles and Ray Eames formed the most creative and emblematic duo in post-war American design.

From their collaboration (1941 - 1978) and their boundless imagination came many of the most iconic pieces and everyday objects of the 20th century. The Lounge Chair Wood (LCW) and the Dining Chair Wood (DCW), both moulded plywood chairs, were exhibited at MoMA in 1946 and have become timeless pieces. Similarly, their series of fibreglass chairs (1948) marketed by Herman Millerincluding the famous DKR model with its Eiffel Tower base in several versions, were immediately popular. Other successes followed: the Rocking Armchair Rod (RAR), the Dining Armchair Rod (DAR)... In 1956, the Eames couple revisited the English club chair with the Lounge Chair and its Ottoman footrest in moulded plywood, which became their most famous creation. Since its launch, the model has sold more than six million units worldwide. A year later, the Swiss company Vitra signed a licensing agreement with Herman Miller to manufacture and distribute Eames furniture in Europe and the Middle East.

The Eames' aim was always to "make the best accessible to the greatest number of people". A successful gamble that still makes them legendary designers today. The Vitra Design MuseumThe Vitra Design Museum, which received a large part of the couple's production in 1988, still exhibits their creations in its permanent galleries and devoted a retrospective to them in 2017/18: An Eames Celebration.

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