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Eames, the Architect and the Painter

Eames, the Architect and the Painter

by Kelly Sparkes on July 5, 2012

Eames ScreenI don’t win competitions, ever, and I always miss those time critical ‘be in the first x to call/tweet/email’ things. So I was thrilled when I saw a tweet by Katie, from Confessions of a Design Geek, offering tickets to a private screening of ‘Eames, the architect and the painter’ to the first 5 RSVP’s, and managed to be one of them!

The screening was held in Clerkenwell at the gorgeous showroom of Vitra, the only authorised manufacturer of Eames products for Europe and the Middle East.  I was joined at the preview by fellow design bloggers, Pippa (Pippa Jameson Interiors), Daniel (HeartHome), Kelly (Light Colour Design) and Kate (Fabric of My Life).

It felt very posh, each of us had our own beautifully designed armchair.

Our SeatsI sat in the exceedingly comfortable Vitra Antonio Crittero Repos, it’s supportive and the head cushion is in the perfect place for me. If only I’d realised it reclined earlier, I’d have been in design heaven!

The film catalogues the story of Charles and Ray Eames the husband and wife team responsible for some of the most important pieces in 20th century design. They didn’t just design chairs, they developed furniture, produced films, photography and even organised exhibitions.

Eames Wire Mesh ChairIt’s fascinating to see how they overcame the problems with plywood moulding and worked together as a team.

In an age when women rarely had a career, people often presumed Ray was a man. When the couple appeared on the Arlene Francis “Home” show in 1956, it was clear that Arlene Francis was very uncomfortable with the idea that Ray played a pivotal role in the design process.  Charles relied on her, especially her sense of colour and styling skills. Ray added the wooden bird to the chair legs in the photo above, such a simple thing to bring the photo to life. The fact that their designs and the adverts created for them haven’t dated is a testament to their skills.

I really enjoyed the film and highly recommend it to any design lover.  Take a look at the trailer below for a teaser.

After the screening we were taken on a tour of the Vitra offices. This was a real treat, the first thing that hit me was how tidy it was as they have a clear desk policy. There are lots of little breakout areas and meeting nooks, created using screens and furniture.

Vitra Breakout Areas
Not forgetting the finishing touches…

Vitra Accessories
A huge thank you to Vitra, for hosting the event, Katie for inviting me, and to Jane Thompson who really looked after us and made it a great evening :)

What’s your favourite Eames product?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

van bueno July 9, 2012 at 12:11 am

Sounds like a fun event! That was a screening of it in SF some time ago but I’ve never managed to attend. I’m putting it in my DVD list right now.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, isn’t it? I have quite a few but the Lounge chair is one that I have my eyes set upon for quite some time. Someday … *sigh*



Kelly Sparkes July 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

It was a lovely evening, you should get it, I’ve already pre-ordered the UK version.

It is so hard to pick a favourite, I love the lounge chair but I also like the Eames Chaise Longue, if only I had enough pennies and space for them all! xx


Toni July 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

lucky girl! I like the less posh Eames chairs and I am in fact sitting on my Poppy red swivel chair as I’m writing to you. I would normally have gone of white or grey but Eames make me go for the colourful version…. :)


Kelly Sparkes July 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

oo how lovely, I bet the poppy red adds a lovely splash of colour! :)


tina July 12, 2012 at 1:05 am

Gosh I missed that!

How fab you won to go to a screening. It is already reserved on my Lovefilm.com
Can’t wait to see it. Thanks for that. Great post x


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