The Eames brand is the definition of a design powerhouse. Their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture, industrial design, and manufacturing can be found anywhere in the United States.
Nowadays Ray Eames’s is acknowledged as the other half of an American legacy in art and design.
The collective history behind the Eames lounge chair
Behind every Charles and Ray Eames design, there was also a group of dedicated workers who molded the metal, plywood, and glass to make the Eameses world-renowned furniture. Not to mention the countless manufacturers that contributed to the Eameses’ success by equipping them with innovative materials such as fiberglass.
Commemorating those who made Eames
From the early 1940s when Charles started developing molded plywood splints for the US navy – the first step towards the plywood chairs that would revolutionize the furniture industry – until his death in 1978, dozens of designers and specialized staff passed through his office.
Norman Bruns, a former boxer and technical whiz who was valuable in envisioning the plywood molding process; Harry Bertoia, who is credited with the form of the plywood chairs and went on to become a renowned designer in his own right; Parke Meek, Margaret “Percy” Harris, Griswold “Griz” Raetze. They were a tough generation – many had fought in the war or lived as vagrants during the Depression, including Charles – and embodied the kind of grit that made postwar America thrive.
These men, along with many more employees, became the unsung heroes who figured out how to bend the plywood and weld the metal wires into the iconic chairs for which the Eameses are best known.
To remember each person that went through the Eames brand is to understand American history, especially after WWII. Design and architecture are intimately tied to the work of the common man and his efforts to become perpetual.
To remember that Eames was, and remains, a team effort is to appreciate the beauty behind each piece of furniture.