In the new two-volume work ‘The Story of Eames Furniture’ by Marilyn Neuhart and John Neuhart the authors take a journey through time, going back both to the early beginnings of modern furniture design and to their own past. The focus of this book is therefore not, as is the case in the volume ‘Eames Design’ by the same two authors, on recording the entire Eames creative output complete with films, graphics and exhibitions. ‘The Story of Eames Furniture’ concentrates on the furniture design and the background to the great myth, as well as the origins of the entire Eames empire. The book deals with the numerous influences of other designers who have become famous, as well as with the loyal staff who worshipped the legendary designer pair. Again and again there is reference to the fact that Charles and Ray Eames demanded unconditional devotion to work, both from themselves and others.
The predecessor of the Eames Office was founded in 1940 as a design collaboration by Charles and Ray, who persuaded colleagues and kindred spirits to join them by promising equal treatment in financial and creative terms, promises which were left unfulfilled. These colleagues brought with them ideas and know-how without which Charles and Ray Eames would not have been able to realise their ideas to the extent they achieved – this, too, is made clear in this book.
A large part of the first volume is also dedicated to the biographies and background of these architects and designers, who have in the course of time themselves become well-known, as well at the more anonymous but no less important members of their staff. In the process it becomes clear how closely interwoven the pioneers of modern design were at the time, and numerous parallels are explored.
The second volume concentrates on the company history and design history of the Eames furniture. Evan’s Products, the company with which Ray and Charles Eames co-operated in the early 1940s, was the leading moulded wood specialist of the age. Later Hermann Miller first took over the sales of the furniture, to which he added their assembly and subsequently their production , with George Nelson playing an important role as an intermediary.
As in a catalogue of works the furniture, objects and design phases are documented in the second volume in chronological sequence and with a wide range of illustrations. In addition to the major theme of moulded wood, which made by Charles and Ray Eames famous, on the last 250 pages of the 800-page strong volume their creation is chronicled over the course of time from the 1940s to the 1970s. Their design phases with other materials such as steel mesh, fibre glass and aluminium are also dealt with.
The fact that one of the aims of the authors was the reconstruction of their own history is shown by the meticulous and painstaking replica of the Eames Office created by John Neuhart in a detailed model on which he worked for almost 10 years. The couple travelled through the whole of America in order to visit contemporary witnesses, carrying out interviews and inspecting original documents. Into the book Mr and Mrs Neuhart have also integrated their own experiences with Charles and Ray Eames and the entire know-how available from previous publications. This two-volume study therefore really can be described as a life’s work.
The Story of Eames Furniture
By: Marilyn Neuhart with John Neuhart
Price: € 150.00 / $ 199.00 / £ 140.00
Format: 25.5 x 29.2 cm
Features: 800 pages, full color, hardcover, 2 volumes in slipcase
Die Gestalten Verlag GmbH & Co. KG