This year marks the centennial of modernist designer Charles Eames' birth. Together with his wife Ray, the Eames' created some of the most enduring modernist architecture and furniture in the world. This story in Thursday's LA Times celebrates their unique vision, which you can see on display in their own films (Powers of Ten is one of my all-time faves), including the above video.
House is a whimsical document the couple made after five years of living in what is now viewed as one of the most important architectural works of art in southern California (and the world!). Ironically, the Eames' (who celebrated the beauty and artistic merit of everyday objects) were anti-elitist and it's a shame their creations have been fetishized and turned into expensive object d'art for the super-rich and the Design Nazis currently taking over Beverly Boulevard. But how fitting that Charles and Ray Eames have become the legends they deserve to be!
From the LA Times:
Their glass-and-steel house and studio — like monolithic Mondrian canvases springing from the ground — were not merely a residence and work space. They were incubators for a new way of living. Today, upon the centennial of Charles' birth and a yearlong schedule of events honoring the Eameses' oeuvre, the Palisades house remains an enduring symbol of post-World War II design and LA's indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
About 200 Eames devotees gathered at the house recently for brunch, cookies and cocktails, and a game of musical chairs ensued, with grown-ups scampering around like children. Hosted by three generations of Eames descendants, the June 17 picnic celebrated what would have been Charles' 100th birthday, and marked the formal dedication of the Eames House as a national historic landmark.
"California has always attracted people of imagination who felt free to express themselves," said Bill Stern, founder of the California Museum of Design, who was on hand for the event. "The Eames House eschewed traditional materials like bricks and sticks, and used glass and steel in fresh ways to create a new understanding of how people can live."
Anybody thinking of building a house should "come here and take notes," added film producer and Eames scholar Daniel Ostroff. "There's a horrible trend in architecture today where the last person that everybody thinks about is the user," he said. "In its concerns for practicality, use, beauty, durability and cost, the Eames House is the most important innovation in home design since the tepee."
Photo above of Charles & Ray Eames from the LA Times