Barbican - The World of Charles and Ray Eames

White Red visited the impressive new Charles and Ray Eames exhibition at the Barbican Centre, which is running until February 2016.  The comprehensive collection documents the careers of the infamous Eames'.

 Eames' Leg Splint commissioned by the US Navy

Eames' Leg Splint commissioned by the US Navy

It was amazing to see one of the earliest uses of formed plywood by the Eames' was in the production of a leg splint, in which the US Navy commissioned thousands to be produced during World War II.  The inception of this project was in response to a discussion with a friend who was a medic for the US Navy and described to Charles Eames how the metal leg splint, used at the time, actually exasperated the leg injuries he was seeing.

 Testing of formed plywood

Testing of formed plywood

Early on in their partnership Charles and Ray Eames won a competition held be the Museum of Modern Art in New York to design an ‘organic’ piece of furniture.  With the intention of forming a chair in a single piece of plywood, they were actually unable to produce this successfully for the resultant display of their winning design.  This had a profound effect on the rest of their career and from that early point onwards you can see the meticulous testing process which was adopted by the Eames’, always ensuring that they produced the designed envisaged.

 A truly mesmorising video produced by Herman Miller which exhibits the meticulous production process for the formed fiberglass plastic Shell Chairs.

A truly mesmorising video produced by Herman Miller which exhibits the meticulous production process for the formed fiberglass plastic Shell Chairs.

 

It was great to see this retrospective of their incredible careers.  With particular emphasis on the early point in their careers in furniture design and architecture, always their intention of producing the best design within budget constraints and material limitations.