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Charles and Ray Eames ❤ ‘They are one…’

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2021 marks the eightieth wedding anniversary of Charles and Ray Eames. Charles grew up in America’s industrial heartland and studied architecture for two years at Washington University in St. Louis, while Ray developed her artistic sensibilities in the theatre, dance and art programmes of the prestigious May Friend Bennett School in New York. The two first met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art outside Detroit, where Charles was an instructor of design and Ray was studying weaving, ceramics and metalwork.

They were both born before World War I, Charles Eames in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri, and Ray Kaiser in 1912 in Sacramento, California. As a young man, Charles worked for various manufacturers and engineers, leading to a lifelong interest in mechanics and the complex functioning of things. Ray participated in the first great wave of American-born abstract artists, exhibiting her paintings alongside other modern artists and studying with Hans Hofmann.

Charles and Ray married on 20 June 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. The gold wedding ring was designed and made by Harry Bertoia.

It was six months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the ensuing war effort spawned new synergies between art and industry. Immediately after their wedding, Charles and Ray drove cross-country to Los Angeles, California, where they would spend the rest of their lives. Here they sought to start anew, away from the social and professional distractions of Detroit, St. Louis and New York.

In Los Angeles the young couple began to establish strong ties within the local creative community. With the assistance of John Entenza, the publisher of Arts & Architecture magazine, they were able to lease a Neutra-designed apartment. Here they soon commenced their at-home experimentation with moulded plywood.

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