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Life, Leisure and work #Charles & Ray Eames


The first proposal for the house where Charles & Ray Eames spent their life was one of the first proposals of the Case Study Houses program developed by the Arts & Architecture magazine. The needs of its inhabitants were defined in the December 1945 issue:

For a married couple both occupied professionally with mechanical experiment and graphic presentation. Work and recreation are involved in general activities: Day and night. work and play, concentration, relaxation with friend and foe, all intermingled personally and professionally with mutual interest. Arts and Architecture, December 1945

This definition suits perfectly Charles and Ray Eames. They designed together an endless amount of chairs, tables, cabinets and toys, they travelled all around the world, illustrated magazine covers, made films and organised exhibitions.

A drawing of the house, included in the magazine, was supported by two silhouettes obviously representing Charles & Ray Eames, surrounded by different objects that represented their usual activities and defined their life style. As the Eameses defended, the objects for working couldn’t be told apart from the objects for leisure.

This first version of the dwelling, designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, seems based on the first Mies’s sketch for a glass house on a hill displayed in the MoMA exhibition of 1947. Very much like this sketch, the Eames House is a rectangular platform with views to the ocean, raised over the meadow by columns, enclosed by glass walls and supported by an exposed truss beam structure. In the manner of Mies’s Farnsworth House, the model they built was empty but for a picture of the site that displayed the reflection of the trees on the glass wall.