What Charles and Ray Eames Taught Us

What Charles and Ray Eames Taught Us

Today the Eames would have celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. To honor these amazing designers, I wanted to look at what they have taught us and continue to teach us.

Charles and Ray Eames ran off to Los Angeles shortly after marrying on June 20, 1941. In the decades that followed, they created a world around themselves filled with love, exploration, diligence, and play.

They instilled in those they knew deep respect for learning; they set a standard for an exemplary work ethic; and they demonstrated that we can always make something better—even an already iconic design—by treating projects as though they’re never really done.

In addition to the many concepts Charles and Ray taught us, they also created things during their partnership to make our world a better place. They gave us furniture designs that we still enjoy; films that we continue to watch and show our kids; exhibitions that, nearly 80 years later, are still on display; and inspirational architectural structures, one of which is a National Historic Landmark.

Throughout their careers, they sought to answers the following questions with every piece they designed.
This small but impactful list became the cornerstone of their achievements.

* how to produce affordable, yet high-quality furniture
* how to build economical, yet well-designed space for living and working
* how to help people see beauty in the everyday
* how to help Americans and other cultures understand each other
* how to make fundamental scientific principles accessible to laypeople.

The 15 Things Charles & Ray Eames Taught Us

1. Keep good company
2. Notice the ordinary
3. Preserve the ephemeral
4. Design not for the elite but for the masses
5. Explain it to a child
6. Get lost in the content
7. Get to the heart of the matter
8. Never tolerate “O.K. anything.”
9. Remember your responsibility as a storyteller
10. Zoom out
11. Switch
12. Prototype it
13. Pun
14. Make design your life… and life, your design.
15. Leave something behind.

Thank you Charles and Ray Eames for all you continue to share with us.