CHARLES ORMAND EAMES (1907 – 1978)
Charles Ormand Eames, one of the worlds´ most famous designers of the 20th century, was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1907. In order to acknowledge Charles Eames life’s work, three words are almost enough: “Lounge Chair” and “Ottoman”. In 1956 the Lounge Chair was presented for the first time, but even today it is often considered as the most important design of the 20th century.
However, before he designed the Lounge Chair, the young Charles Eames had to go a long way after his architectural studies at Washington University in St. Louis. In the 1930s Eames founded his own architectural office. In 1938 he received a scholarship for the Cranbrook Academy of Art and later on a lectureship for design. In 1940 he won the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” award for the New York “Museum of Modern Art” together with Eero Saarinen.
The most instructive time of Eames´ life were certainly the years of the Second World War: together with his wife Ray Eames, Charles Eames developed aircraft parts, stretchers and splints made of elaborately molded plywood sheets for the US government. The newly learned technique of molding plywood under steam lead to various diverse furniture designs by Charles Eames.
For the rest of his life Charles Eames showed a great fascination for special materials and techniques. Eames experimented with wire, fiberglass and aluminum – always searching for the perfect “molded seat“. Sometimes it took several years until Charles Eames was able to present ready to go into production designs. The famous “Organic Chair” that was awarded by the “Museum of Modern Art” in 1940, was only ready to go into production in 2004. Charles Eames was often way ahead of his time so that the manufacturing techniques could not always keep up.
Together with his wife Ray, Charles Eames realized innumerable diverse projects. He was interested in many different things: photo, industrial design, books, fine arts. Together, Eames and his wife made over 85 films.
Charles Eames died in his hometown St. Louis on August 21, 1978.