Design 101: Everything You Need to Know About Eames

published Mar 14, 2017
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(Image credit: Jesse David Green)

There’s something to be said about a solo artist: a lot of notable designers have left their mark under one name or larger brand. But when two visionaries get together on the same team? That’s when you’re dealing with a force to be reckoned with. Eames may be a company that’s synonymous with mid-century design, but it’s the husband and wife duo behind it that gave the brand staying power well into the modern era.

The Eameses manage to be the kind of power couple that cover every area of the design spectrum. Charles was an architect who became the head of the design department at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Design, and Ray was a painter who wound up at the academy after studying painting in New York. As fate would have it, the duo ended up collaborating with Eero Saarinen on a furniture design competition for the Museum of Modern Art. And wouldn’t you have guessed it, their molded plywood creations won.

These original designs led to a contract producing things like splints and stretchers for the Navy during World War II, and their molded furniture was displayed at the MoMA in 1946. And the rest is history!

Objects this iconic were built to last, especially in the sense of a having a respected place in the design world. Herman Miller has been consistently producing their designs since the late 1940’s in the US, while Vitra has brought their furniture to the European market since 1957. Chances are if you’re looking through the home of anyone even remotely into design, they have an Eames product. But since knockoffs have pretty much saturated the market, a little research into how you can tell if your piece is authentic is essential.

As longtime collaborators Herman Miller summed up best, “Charles and Ray achieved their monumental success by approaching each project the same way: Does it interest and intrigue us? Can we make it better? Will we have “serious fun” doing it?” Here are some standout Eames pieces from Apartment Therapy Marketplace, all guaranteed to bring a little fun into your home.