Charles Eames is among the most important American designers of this century. He is best known for his groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts.
It was a revolution of form, an exciting visual language that signalled a new age and a fresh start - and one of its prime movers was Charles Eames. His works are lean and modern, sleek, sophisticated and simple and beautifully functional.
Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1930, Charles started his own architectural office. He began extending his design ideas beyond architecture and received a fellowship to Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he eventually became head of the design department.
Charles Eames created more than a "look" with his bent plywood chairs or moulded fibreglass seating. He had ideas about making a better world, one in which things were designed to fulfil the practical needs of ordinary people and bring greater simplicity and pleasure to our lives.
Charles Eames adventurously pursued new ideas and forms with a sense of "serious fun." Yet, it was rigorous discipline that allowed him to achieve perfection of form and mastery over materials. As Charles noted about the moulded plywood chair, "Yes, it was a flash of inspiration," he said, "a kind of 30-year flash." Combining imagination and thought, art and science, Charles Eames created some of the most influential expressions of 20th century design-furniture that remains stylish, fresh and functional even today.
As the most important exponents of organic design, Charles Eames demonstrated how good design can improve quality of life and human understanding and knowledge. Durch die Kombination.
Eero Saarinen, born in 1910 in Kirkkonummi, Finland, as the son of the architect Eliel Saarinen, studied sculpture in 1929 and 1930 at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiére in Paris before studying architecture at Yale University in New Haven until 1934. A Yale fellowship enabled him to travel to Europe.
In 1936, he returned to the USA and worked in his father's architectural practice and also taught at Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills. It was here that Eero Saarinen met Charles Eames. Together they experimented on new furniture forms and produced the first designs for furniture made from moulded plywood.
In 1940, they submitted a joint entry to the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Eero Saarinen went on to design numerous iconic furniture pieces, most notably for Knoll International.
The TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York is considered to be his architectural masterpiece. He was working on the building of Dulles International Airport in Washington at the time of his death in 1961.