Choosing and Arranging #Charles & Ray Eames
During the fifties, the general climate of design changed forever because of the work of Charles and Ray Eames. With a few chairs and a house.Peter Smithson, Just a Few Chairs and a House: an Essay on the Eames Aesthetic, September 1966.
In 1949, Charles and Ray Eames built their house and studio in Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, as part of the Case Study Houses program, organised by John Entenza, from the magazine Arts & Architecture with the aim of providing shelter for the “post-war way of living” of the average American.
In order to build their dwelling, Case Study House #8, Charles and Ray Eames used all the prefab systems that the industry developed during the war effort with the aim of wrapping the maximum habitable volume with the minimum amount of material. This emphasis in prefabrication gave the house its characteristic provisional, “fragile look”, like it could be disassembled and moved as easily as it was assembled.
The Eameses designed their house as a container, where the real importance was in its contents. The comfort as well as the quality of the space relied on the objects inside that were displayed following the same “choosing and arranging” method that they used to stage an exhibition, design a magazine cover or organize the set for one of their movies. Inside the house they displayed and use every kind of furniture that they designed, from the DCM chairs to the lounge chair, but also such different items as an Alexander Calder’s sculpture or the exotic handicraft they bought in their travels, combining it all with an eye that sees the ordinary as also magical.