I opened my email this morning to find a PR missive from Ammo Books touting two new titles hot off the press for Christmas gifting. Anyone who knows styleNorth knows I have a dangerous attraction to design books but the Ammo message included links to the ebooks, which was my first experience of sampling a book this way. Suddenly the attractions of the iPad make sense to me; I enjoyed the whole book cover to cover on my laptop and it was very pleasant indeed.
Eames: Beautiful Details by grandson Eames Demetrios is an elaborate collection of archival photographs and quotes from the professional and creative lives of husband and wife design team Ray and Charles Eames. Many of the photos are familiar — the Eames’s clowning around on a motorcycle or pinned like moths beneath their chair frames. They look like such a fun, happy couple although the quotes make it clear that they took architecture and design very, very seriously.
And it was by no means a creatively lopsided partnership; I love this quote from Charles, “Anything I can do, Ray can do better.” It beautifully sums up their mutual respect for each other as designers.
Their chairs have become fetishistic objects of desire but Beatuiful Details portrays this powerful design team as real people, creatively engaged on a mission they believed in. I would have loved to share a bottle of wine with them, two even better.
They, as much as anyone else, are responsible for the mid-century modern style so many covet today. It would surprise no one to walk into a space like the Eames Case Study House ab0ve in 2012, it would still feel fresh and modern albeit a little retro. As Charles Eames said, ” . . . at all times love and discipline have lead to a beautiful environment and a good life.”
Archival photographs courtesy of Eames Beautiful Details, available through Amazon.