Design from A to ZInteriors

Design from A to Z: E is for Eames

by Erin Austen Abbott

Charles and Ray Eames are often considered the darlings of mid-century modern design. Their work is so iconic, that even if you don’t know their names, you most likely know their work. While they are mostly known for their molded plywood chairs and molded fiberglass shell chairs — as you will see from this roundup here — they did so much more than that. The couple also designed homes, were avid photographers, did graphic design, made films and were also industrial designers. The two were actively designing together from 1941 until 1978, when their last design went into production.

This Eames duo, their story and designs are hands down my most favorite to come out of the mid-century modern movement. There’s something so endearing about a couple that worked tirelessly and systematically together, leaving us with so much work that stands the test of time. —Erin

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From chairs to storage units, it's clear the design power of Charles and Ray Eames continues to stand the test of time.
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The chalkboard wall is so fun next to the modern look of the Eames shell chairs with a dowel base, in Helsinki.
E is for Eames on Design*Sponge
The molded plywood with metal legs Eames chair gives the entryway in this North Carolina home a warm welcome.
E is for Eames on Design*Sponge
This Williamsburg nursery, filled with cheery tones of coral and greys, brings in the Eames molded fiberglass rocker perfectly.
E is for Eames on Design*Sponge
Two Eames chairs -- a molded plywood lounge chair and the lounge chair with ottoman -- fill this sunny Noe Valley home in San Francisco.
E is for Eames on Design*Sponge
The electric blue of the molded fiberglass shell rocker is a fun addition in this child's room.
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The pop of yellow from the Eames Molded Fiberglass Shell Chair is the perfect blend against the unpainted wood walls in this Chicago apartment.
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The Eames Storage Unit contrasts nicely with the dark tones from the couch in the home of Patrick Conner.
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Mixing color from the wall hangings (made in Guatemala) with the neutral tones of the Eames chairs gives this room a stunning combination in Utah.
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The yellow vinyl and metal Eames chairs on were found on eBay.
E is for Eames on Design*Sponge
The green Eames Molded Shell Rocker, in the home of photographer Max Wanger, shows the variety of the fiberglass collection.
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  • The lounge chair with ottoman in the 5th photo is not an Eames. It’s actually a knock-off from Plycraft. I have one in my house (the knock-off, not the real thing) and I love it. Apparently they recline more than the original design. Yay, for more lounging!

  • I’m crazy about their film, the Power of 10. And I vaguely remember seeing pictures or maybe even a film of their shared apartment or studio that was quite memorable. Gotta see that PBS special mentioned above. Excellent!

  • We have two Eames Hang-It-All coat racks in our house and I love their colorful, geometric design. Would love one day to buy the lounge chair and ottoman (no room in our current house, though, besides of course the steep price). The PBS documentary “Eames: The Architect and the Painter” was indeed fabulous.

  • Yeah, the lounge chair pictured is definitely a knock off (I’m lucky enough to own the real thing). Perhaps you can say “Eames-inspired”…. :)

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