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abc Eames Design xyz is a retrospective on the life and designs of husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames spanning the years from 1941 to 1978. The prolific output of these two creative individuals is staggering. Included in this book that was almost seven years in the making are drawings, plans, period photographs, models, graphics, and film clips. The book contains 3,504 illustrations, including 2,107 which are in full color. Also included is a supplemental abc Chronology xyz with photographs of Charles and Ray’s designs in a thirty-seven year span of industrious creativity.
Ray trained as an artist and Charles was an architect. They married in 1941 and became collaborators on their first project developing a molded wood splint for the military in 1941-42, solving the wartime need for light weight and compact splints. Charles collaborated with Eero Saarinen on Case Study House #8 in 1945 which they called the “Bridge House.” The Case Study House program was intended to address the problems with housing in the Los Angeles area after the war. However, the campaign created a lasting impression on architects and designers worldwide. Ray designed many covers for the magazine abc Arts and Architecture xyz , and Charles submitted many of the drawings and photographs for the layouts. The magazine was owned by their friend John Entenza, who in 1938 revamped its format to reflect contemporary trends in architecture, music, design and the arts.
Charles and Ray Eames are perhaps best known for their molded plywood furniture. In 1949 Herman Miller bought the manufacturing rights for their molded plywood chair with metal legs and has been producing it ever since. Charles joined Herman Miller that same year as a design consultant. The Herman Miller furniture company gained international visibility by producing contemporary designs from Eames, Isamu Noguchi and others.
abc Eames Design xyz is a timeline of the lives of two very important designers. Their lives becoming entwined and their flow of creativity is an inspiration for artists, designers and architects. The outpouring of design innovation from Charles and Ray Eames is presented by their good friends and authors John and Marilyn Neuhart. This book is a labor of love.
Reviewer: Cynthia Aaron, FIDM Library Staff Member