Here at Metro Furniture, we love Ray and Charles Eames and their incredible, iconic chair designs, and at the centre of that flurry of activity was the Eames house.
Built in 1949 after years of planning, the husband and wife duo created a space that perfectly fit their unique aesthetic. Also known as Case Study House No. 8, the Eames house was a labour of love, and served as a living and creative space for the couple.
It still stands, beautifully preserved, at 203 North Chautauqua Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Ray and Charles lived in the house from Christmas Eve 1949 up until Ray’s death in 1988. The LA Times wrote in a profile of the house ‘Since the Eameses' deaths – Charles in 1978, Ray exactly 10 years later, to the day – a caretaker has kept the house in a state of suspended animation, as though Ray has simply the left the house on an errand.’
The house was one off - a piece of art that also functioned as a thoroughly lived-in house and home. It also acted as a studio where design and living went hand in hand, and where work and life became one and the same.
Built on a sloping green space and surrounded by a meadow (it took the Eameses three years to redesign the house in order not to destroy the meadow), the aim of the house was to make a maximum impact using a minimal amount of materials.
The house serves as a catalogue of life. Despite the Eameses’ approach to design being very practical and minimal, the Eames House was a living archive of memories and ideas. The living room alone is filled with 1,500 objects, including many of their own projects and rare pieces from around the world, including an indigenous Canadian woven basket and the iconic ‘Eames Bird’ sculpture.
The Eameses proposed a space where work and living could be performed in one fluid space harmoniously. A home where a married couple could live together, work together and entertain together in a relaxed environment. The result was a vast, open space fronted by a Mondrian inspired façade that greeted guests into their large living room filled with books, art objects, soft furnishings and mementos of the couples travels.
Charles Eames would spend hours arranging the objects inside the house, moving them by mere inches, making sure everything was aligned and connected, matching his philosophy that “Eventually everything connects—people, ideas, objects… the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se…”.
The house was made a national historic landmark in 2006 and is preserved lovingly by the Eames Foundation and the Eameses grandchildren. The house stands as a testament to an iconic and timeless partnership. It is still visited by design enthusiasts to this day and is considered to be one of the greatest architectural marvels in Los Angeles.
Eames House Interior picture credit: latimes.com