The World of Charles and Ray Eames runs from 21 October 2015-14 February 2016 at The Barbican and is the largest Eames retrospective yet seen in the UK and among the biggest staged anywhere.
Charles and Ray Eames weren’t just among the most influential designers of the 20th century, they also experimented with photography, film, architecture and exhibitions. The show features personal letters, photographs, drawings and artwork, products, models, multimedia installations and furniture - including some very familiar and well-loved designs.
The narrative reveals that, among modernist designers, the Eames became renowned for their eclecticism. They weren’t all about clean and rigid lines. Instead, as can be seen in the designs that we offer at Pash, they embraced a kind of optimism and warmth, with a preference for bright fabrics and a disregard for conventional ideas about taste. British architect Peter Smithson summed it up like this: “They made it respectable to like pretty things.”
But, most exciting to us, is the way in which the exhibition brings the creative approach of the Eames to life. There is a playful spirit that really comes across alongside a dedication to doing good work. As Charles Eames used to tell his staff: “Take your pleasure seriously.”
Perhaps the best illustration of this is a replica of something that Charles and Ray built for their own home. Called the Music Tower, it is a kind of gravity powered xylophone. Drop a ball bearing in the top and you get a tune. It’s enormous fun but also beautifully designed. We don’t yet stock them at Pash but when we can source a supplier, we’ll be sure to let you know.