Design lovers please attend! Design center C-Mine in Genk (BE) reveals a beautiful story of design couple Charles and Ray Eames. Come face to face with the curved plywood and plastic furniture by the Eameses. Already familiar? What about military household objects and sculptures? Or unsurpassed short movies and multimedia-presentations. Plunge into the world of Charles and Ray Eames, an exhibition that fits extremely well in the industrial setting of C-Mine.
The reputation of the Eameses is linked to the curved furniture design that influenced al lot of European designers. Their ideal of mass-produced furniture was brought into practice by the use of molded plywood.
They already experimented with plywood leg-splints for injured soldiers and multiplex pilot seats for the navy and army. Ray Eames, educated as an artist, also used the technique in a scuptural way and designed some art objects.
In the fifties the Eames experimented with a new material: plastic. Together with Zenith Plastics they developed some fiber-reinforced chairs for the Herman Miller Furniture Company. Innovative was the fact that the armchair cast base was designed in one piece en could be mass-produced from a single material. The seat was padded with polyurethane foam and designers like Alexander Girard were asked to design the upholstery. The lamb’s wool rocking chair edition was intended for pregnant employees of Herman Miller!
The exhibition also shows a marvelous scale model of the Case Study House #8 in L.A. This wonderful modernistic house, designed in the late forties, is situated at the slope of a hill and was constructed out of iron beams in just some days. Glass windows are alternated by color panels that refers to the Dutch ‘De Stijl’-movement. The case study house emphasizes the importance of the inside-outside experience.
The same architectural style can be found in this fabulous model house kit created in 1959 for the Revell Toy Company. Completely furnished with miniature Eames furniture and accessories.
“Take your pleasure seriously”
The second part of the exhibition continues upstairs in the setting of the old mine factory. Here, between industrial machines, a change of focus to more experimental work of Eames office becomes visible. In the late fifties with the rise of the information-era, the work of the Eameses becomes interdisciplinair. They produced hundreds of short movies, like the Solar Do-Nothing Machine (1957): a playful experiment which converts sunlight into electrical energy.
For large companies like IBM they developed groundbreaking communication projects with multi-screen projections based on films and photography. The upcoming computer technology in the changed America of the cold-war period needed to be popularized. In a small theaterroom you can watch some of these educational movies which today are still very impressive and extremely entertaining!
Very appealing are the House of Cards series, with almost abstract pictures of everyday items. The idea was to make construction of space as easy as possible with two sets of 54 cards. The notches elegantly solved the problem of connections: no tools are needed. The computer pictures used for the IBM edition look unexpected contemporary!
The way Charles and Ray Eames faced computer technology reveals attractive solutions for today’s data revolution. Another reason to visit the exhibition ‘The World of Charles and Ray Eames’ at C-Mine Genk, up to 28.05.2017.