Charles and Ray Eames: Designers I Admire


Charles and Ray Eames are far and wide the most influential power couple the design space has ever seen.  “Since uniting in 1940, these partners in life and work have been internationally recognized at the forefront of the design, architecture, filmmaking, and furniture communities.” [1] Charles and Ray Eames were both what one might consider a ‘renaissance man’ or woman or couple, varying interests in multiple fields seamlessly integrated into their shared philosophies of design.

Charles and Ray Eames sit on their classic Eames Office Chairs amid a variety of colors

Images of Charles and Ray Eames, attribution [1]

At their office they sought after refining the industrial process, to design products fit for mass production. “The heart and the mind were actively at work inside Charles, Ray, and the Eames Office environment. The Office missioned to produce high-quality products from readily available, often industrial, materials to the masses. ” [1]

Even in a function above all else environment Charles and Ray Eames were able to bring a certain beauty to an often overlooked sector of production. Once Ray declared “What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.”, however “there was an undeniable intuition for the rightness of particular forms, colors, and finishing details”[1]



DAL Chair, 1961 [2] This type of plastic form chair very prevalent in Eames designs.

Lounge Chair and Ottoman, 1956 [2]

One of their most famous designs, bending plywood became one of their design staples. If you ever get the chance to sit in one please take the chance.

LCM (Lounge Chair w/ Metal), 1946 [2] Again we see the recurrence of plywood bent into form, notice the organic curvature of the design.


Exterior view of the Eames House, showing a contemporary looking home with beautiful landscaping

Case Study House #8, 1945 [3], Notice the Large windows juxtaposed by large primary color panels. It looks like a Mondrian Painting.

The Kwikset House, 1951 [3]

The Eames office designed a pre-fabricated house with all off the shelf parts for a company to sell complete home kits. Take note of the furniture in the space as well.


When operating with a function above all approach there are some things you lose in your pursuit of mass production. These are costs at the benefit of being able to share your design with the rest of the world, something that does not require much to enjoy, made practically for practical purposes. However, in the modern day all of Charles and Ray Eames’ famous designs seem out of reach for the average consumer, in direct opposition of their theoretical goals. The lowest cost item on the Eames Office site is a small table selling for $245 [4]. Where is the quality, high durability, and low cost the Eames had originally set out to produce? Things like these could be a function of time, fame, and post humorous use of their name to promote something so outside of their goals while they were alive. I do believe that their influence in the industrial design setting cannot be overstated, but their ascension to design martyrs, and thus the price tag now associated with anything having to do with them has placed a corrupted lens over their image and philosophies after their passing.





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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I am also a huge fan of the Eames bros and really enjoy your writing here. Do you think that designers are responsible for making products that are affordable?

  • Hi Chris, the Eames lounge chair is not only the most popular piece they have made, but is probably one of the most recognizable pieces of furniture ever created. It would be a huge accomplishment to own one. What is your favorite piece they have made?


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