Charles Eames
American designer, half of duo the Eames



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Charles Eames
American designer, half of duo the Eames
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Charles Eames was one half of dynamic American husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames.

Their best known design, the Eames Lounge Chair, was proclaimed the “chair of the century” by renowned critic Esther McCoy. Charles himself described it as having “the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.” Mmmm, leathery.

Charles went to school at Washington University in St. Louis on a scholarship for architecture but was kicked out for being a major fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. Seems a bit extreme, but Charles took it in his stride and started his own architectural office instead. His second wife, Ray, studied in New York under Hans Hofmann (wink, wink) before meeting Charles at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. 

In the midst of the drama caused by Charles’ numerous affairs, the duo was commissioned by the U.S. Navy to produce splints, stretchers, and glider shells in their signature molded plywood. Back before we came to associate it with horrifically lit '80s living rooms, molded plywood was considered pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. They chose it in part for its affordability: “We wanted to make the best, for the most, for the least.” 

In 1949, Ray and Charles were sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine to design and build a home in Pacific Palisades, California. They constructed it from pre-fabricated industrial steel parts in a matter of days and lived there together until their death. Cozy. The Eames' also found success in industrial design, graphic design, film, architecture, and fine art. Show-offs.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Charles Eames

Charles Eames was an American designer, architect and film maker. In creative partnership with his spouse Ray Kaiser Eames he was responsible for groundbreaking contributions in the field of architecture, furniture design, industrial design, manufacturing and the photographic arts.



Charles was born in St. Louis to Charles Sr., a railway security officer, and Marie Adele Celine Eames on 17 June 17, 1907. He had one elder sibling, a sister called Adele. Charles attended Yeatman high school and developed an interest for architecture.


Charles studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis on an architecture scholarship. After two years of study, he left the university. Many sources claim that he was dismissed for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and his interest in modern architects. The university reportedly dropped him because of his "too modern" views. Other sources, less frequently cited, note that while a student, Charles Eames also was employed as an architect at the firm of Trueblood and Graf. The demands on his time from this employment and from his classes led to sleep-deprivation and diminished performance at the university.

While at Washington University, he met his first wife, Catherine Woermann, whom he married in 1929. A year later, they had a daughter, Lucia Jenkins.

Architectural practice

In 1930, Charles began his own architectural practice in St. Louis with partner Charles Gray. They were later joined by a third partner, Walter Pauley.

Charles Eames was greatly influenced by the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen (whose son Eero, also an architect, would become a partner and friend). At the elder Saarinen's invitation, Charles moved in 1938 with his wife Catherine and daughter Lucia to Michigan, to further study architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he would become a teacher and head of the industrial design department. In order to apply for the Architecture and Urban Planning Program, Eames defined an area of focus—the St. Louis waterfront. Together with Eero Saarinen he designed prize-winning furniture for New York's Museum of Modern Art "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition. Their work displayed the new technique of wood moulding (originally developed by Alvar Aalto), that Eames would further develop in many moulded plywood products, including chairs and other furniture, splints and stretchers for the US Navy during World War II.

Ray Kaiser

In 1941, Charles and Catherine divorced, and he married his Cranbrook colleague Bernice ("Ray") Kaiser, who was born in Sacramento, California. He then moved with her to Los Angeles, California, where they worked and lived until their deaths.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Charles Eames.