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Ray Eames

Ray Eames

*  1912 Sacramento/Kalifornien
† 1988 Los Angeles

Born Bernice Alexandra Kaiser in Sacramento, California, in 1912, the designer later known as Ray Eames moved with her mother to New York in 1929, where she studied painting at the Art Students League. In 1940 Ray Kaiser went to study at the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where among other things she worked on weaving. At that time Charles Eames was head of the industrial design department at Cranbrook. Charles Eames collaborated with Eero Saarinen on the designs they submitted to the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition hosted in 1940 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ray Kaiser was on the design team, which also included Harry Bertoia and Don Albinson. In 1941 Ray Kaiser married Charles Eames and the Eames moved to Los Angeles not long afterwards. In their flat, Charles and Ray Eames continued to experiment with molding plywood with a press, the "Kazam! Machine", they built for the purpose. In 1942 Charles and Ray Eames founded the Plyformed Wood Company. They made splints and stretchers of plywood for the US Navy. After they sold the business to the Evans Product Company, Charles Eames worked briefly for Evans as head of the research and development division, where he continued to design furniture. Ray Eames always played an important role in the furniture designs the Eames produced. In 1946 MOMA mounted a retrospect: "New Furniture by Charles Eames", showing prototype plywood furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames, including the "Lounge Chair, Metal" and the "Lounge Chair, Wood". The "LCW", which is made of bentwood elements, is based on a 1940 design. Further developed, it lead to the celebrated "No. 670 Lounge Chair" (1956). In the late 1950s, Charles and Ray Eames developed the "Plastic Shell Group" with fiber-glass seats. "La Chaise" dates from 1948 and the "Dining Armchair Rod" as well as the "Rocking Armchair Rod" from 1948-1950. In 1958 the "Aluminium Group" was launched. Ray Eames is credited with designing the 1960 "Time-Life Stool". Furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames is made primarily by Herman Miller and Vitra.