Today, Lucia Eames’s fourth child, Eames Demetrios, is director of the Eames Office, where Demetrios is devoted to preserving and extending the legacy and work of his grandparents, Charles and Ray. In addition to creating some of the most recognizable furniture designs of the 20th-century, the dynamic duo made more than 15 films and designed 30 exhibits for IBM in a relationship that began in 1953 and spanned three decades. In an outdoor conversation at the famous Eames house, Demetrios still considers it his mission to communicate his grandparents' visionary ideas to as wide an audience as possible by sharing Powers of Ten, the classic educational film the couple created, and the resources of the Eames Office. However, what was most interesting was listening to Demetrois reflect on his life growing up with Charles and Ray as his grandparents.
1. “As beautiful as the objects are that Charles and Ray created, the ideas behind them are just as beautiful and just as important and relevant today.”
2. As a grandchild, Eames observed, “it was more than a home; it was a laboratory of creative thinking.”
3. Demetrios told the stories of his grandparents with a gleam in his eye while he talked about how they would use the most thoughtful tool for everything they did, including something as simple as eating grapefruit. He also discussed the guest-host relationship, which speaks to clients and designers alike—“The role of the designer is basically that of a good host, anticipating the needs of the guest.”
4. Demetrios regards his grandparents as problem solvers at their core. “Charles and Ray approached every problem on a situation-by-situation basis and found and applied the best possible solution for it.”
5. Even though the two are considered mid-century modern masters, Demetrios says, “They never tried to force a specific design style on all the things they did.”
6. A favorite quote: “The connections, the connections, the connections,” Charles Eames once said. “It will in the end be these details that give the product its life.”
7. “Their work was always about finding smarter ways of doing things,” Demetrios said. “Charles and Ray believed that when you truly try to address the fundamental need of any situation, the best solution will come to the fore.”
8. When specifically discussing design, Demetrois says, “It was about appropriateness. And I think [Charles and Ray] always had a really good sense of that.”
9. While discussing values: “You could have a rich life without any money!”
10. Ultimately, good design is driven by principle. “If you always come from a pure place, good things are likely to happen.”
Kerrie L. Kelly is an award-winning interior designer and author.
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