RAY EAMES (1912 – 1988)
Ray Eames – the muse of the genius. She was born in Sacramento, California, studied art and design and of course was the wife at Charles Eames side. Who was this woman who we know so little about but is said to be the real creator of the most famous works of the “Eames Office”?
Ray Eames, who was born as Bernice Alexandra Kaiser, moved to New York with her mother in 1929. There she studied the art of painting at the Art Students League. When her mother died 11 years later, Ray Eames, at the age of 28, enrolled in the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills. At that time Charles Eames was director of the industrial design department there.
We assume that Ray and Charles Eames got to know each other while they were working on the project „Organic Design in Home Furnishings“ which was developed for a competition of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Back then, Ray was part of the team working for Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen.
One year later, in 1941, Charles Eames got divorced and married Ray. As a couple they worked together at the ”Eames Office“, whereas Ray Eames always lived in her husband’s shadow. However, many employees and contemporary witnesses are of the opinion that Ray Eames was responsible for the artistic design and Charles Eames took care of the technical realization.
What we definitely know is that Ray Eames designed the famous “La Chaise“ in 1948. Today this curved arm-chair made of fibreglass is one of the most prominent Eames works – although it was manufactured in series only decades later by Vitra.
Together with her husband Charles Eames, Ray Eames belongs to the most important designers of the 20th century. Even if her artistic work is little known, Ray Eames definitely contributed a lot to the successes of the ”Eames Office“.
Ray Eames died on August 21, 1988.