Happy Birthday, Ray Eames!

Bernice Alexandra "Ray" (December 15, 1912 – August 21, 1988) was an American designer, artist, and filmmaker who, along with her husband Charles, made up the famous Eames design team. The duo is responsible for many major contributions to modern architecture and furniture, as well as graphic design and film.


Ray studied abstract expressionism painting under Hans Hofmann, and was a founder of the American Abstract Artists group in 1936. The Whitney Museum of American Art holds one of her paintings in its permanent collection.



Ray and Charles married in 1941, and the couple embarked on their incredible career in design. In the 1940s, Ray designed a series of textiles which are still in production today, as well as a series of covers for the seminal design magazine, Arts & Architecture.

In the 1950s, the couple worked extensively on furniture design, and pioneered many technologies, such as their fiberglass and plastic resin chairs, and the wire mesh chairs designed for Herman Miller. Among their most notable contributions to modern furniture is the Eames Lounge Chair (below), which is now a permanent part of the collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Their last project, which was in progress at the time of Charles' death, was the Eames Sofa, which went into production in 1984. 





The couple's interest in photography led to the production of short films, which allowed the pair to experiment different mediums of artistic expression, and to archive their interests, such as their love of collecting toys and cultural artifacts.



Eames Elephant by Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra


Their short film Powers of Ten (narrated by the late physicist Philip Morrison), gives a dramatic demonstration of orders of magnitude by visually zooming away from the earth to the edge of the universe, and then microscopically zooming into the nucleus of a carbon atom.


The Eames also designed a number of exhibitions which focus on educational content. The first of these, Mathematica: a world of numbers...and beyond (1961), was sponsored by IBM. The Mathematica exhibition is still considered a model for science popularization exhibitions. It was followed by A Computer Perspective: Background to the Computer Age (1971) and The World of Franklin and Jefferson (1975–1977), among others.




See 30 Eye-Catching Interiors Featuring The Iconic Eames Lounge Chair

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 15 December 2014
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