the Eames workshop
stack of Eames chair

Charles and Ray Eames practiced design at its most virtuous and its most expansive. From the 1940s to the 1970s, their furniture, toys, buildings, films, exhibitions, and books aimed to improve society—not only functionally, but culturally and intellectually as well. The Eameses' wholehearted belief that design could improve people's lives remains their greatest legacy. Even more remarkable is how they achieved their seriousness of purpose with elegance, wit, and beauty.

This exhibition brings together the sources of the Eameses' inspiration, the personal documents of their lives, and the finished products of their talent. In order to understand the processes that led to the Eameses' achievements, this exhibition is organized around challenges posed to them by clients or—as with most creative geniuses—posed by themselves:

  • how to produce affordable, yet high-quality furniture
  • how to build economical, yet well-designed space for living and working
  • how to help people see beauty in the everyday
  • how to help Americans and other cultures understand each other
  • how to make fundamental scientific principles accessible to lay people.

The Eameses' vast body of work illustrates their solutions to these challenges. They also demonstrate the ambition and scope of the Eameses' agenda—from the utilitarian chair to complex issues of human perception, understanding, and knowledge.

Dates & Venues

nterior with Charles and Ray, c. 1960

The exhibition was scheduled to be on display at the following locations.

May 20—September 4, 1999
Library of Congress
Washington, DC

October 12, 1999—January 9, 2000
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
New York, New York

February 19—May 14, 2000
Saint Louis Art Museum
Saint Louis, Missouri

June 25—September 11, 2000
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, California

March 2—May 19, 2001
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Tel Aviv, Israel

June 26—September 30, 2001
MAK (Museum of Applied Arts)
Vienna, Austria

June—September 2002
Vitra Design Museum
Berlin, Germany