The World of Charles and Ray Eames, Barbican exhibition

All about Eames at the Barbican exhibition.

We went to see The World of Charles and Ray Eames Barbican Exhibition at the weekend which was superb. Charles and Ray Eames were two of the most important furniture designers of the 20th century and there influences go far beyond just their chairs.

Seen as American design heroes and probably the most famous husband and wife duo of their time. A couples creative world that crossed disciplines constantly from furniture and product design to graphics, photography, film-making, architecture and exhibitions. It was wonderful following their passions and imaginations through the exhibition as well as Elle Decoration’s article in their October 2015 issue.

Charles had trained and worked as an architect as well as loving photography. Ray had studied painting as well as being a graphic designer and art director. It was this combination of talents that meant there was very little they couldn’t do.

We loved the way they also saw even the most ordinary objects as potential source material, they saw endless possibilities for creativity in the world around them. They amassed a array of everyday objects, elaborate ornaments and toys over their lifetime and the exhibition showed wonderful films they had made with these toys as well as lots of masks and toy boats they had acquired.

It showed throughout the exhibition what a hands on, improvisatory and inventive approach to design they had and how this was the core that defined the Eames legacy and wide appeal.

Our Exhibition Highlights.

The two highlights for us were the film of the fibre glass chairs being made from clay mould through to the fibreglass being added to finished chair, fascinating. Plus the advert and tv show for the launch of theLounge chair and ottoman. Also loved the Herman Miller poster – Textiles and objects, decorative objects selected by Alexander Girard and Eames House of cards that kept popping up throughout the exhibition.

Eames thoughts and ideas on Architecture.

The architectural project they were involved in building their own home was fascinating. They designed and built house number 8 in 1945 as part of the Case Study Houses programme, a modernist architecture project in California. This building was quoted as their most potent and iconic expression of their attitude towards living. Remarkable for it’s simplicity and lightness it was both collaborative and pioneering. It combined their house and studio based on a hilltop overlooking the ocean. The house became the Eames laboratory and focal point to their busy working lives. I would live to visit this one day as they do open tours run by the Eames Foundation and they are raising funding to preserve the house.

Their whole attitude towards living was built around design and the people they worked with – ‘ whatever we go and whatever we do, design is always with us – making itself felt in our lives. Physically good design can go far to increase the efficacy of our actions’ said by Alexander Girard 1949.

Also loved the one fabric they showed ‘CrossPatch’ by Ray Eames which was vat dyed hand printed.

All in all a fascinating afternoon learning more about this couples thinking and inspirations. A show that brought to life their interest in design, architecture, product design, graphics, technology, science and education.

‘The World Of Charles and Ray Eames’ at the Barbican Art Gallery 21stOct -14thFeburay 2016, London.