The World of Charles and Ray Eames at the Barbican

On a wintry day in London, tired from walking, we took refuge in the cavernous concrete halls of the Barbican where quite by surprise we dropped into a pool of optimism.

The Eames aesthetic continues to influence and reflect the kind of furniture and design we want to see and use and live with every day – nearly 70 years after their first prototypes went into production

The World of Charles and Ray Eames showcases the dynamic design duo’s experimental work on everything from leg splints during WW2 to entire homes and it was a treat to experience some of the infamous classics in the fiberglass flesh.104467786But there’s much more to Ray and Charles Eames than affordable post war furniture. And it was this that inspired me.




Charles and Ray met at design school, got married and spent their lives in collective pursuit of their ideas for the greater good. This pursuit just happened to produce some of the most celebrated design pieces of the century; but fundamentally Charles and Ray shared a love of process and it was this that piqued my renewed admiration.

Their work wasn’t about a beautiful result, it was seeing the beauty in every single stage of production all the way back to the faint buzz and tingle of the initial idea.

They didn’t design to solve problems, they designed to explore aesthetic possibilities while always keeping a firm grip on function and practicality.

“Who ever said that pleasure wasn’t functional?” Charles Eames




And Charles and Ray knew how to have fun. They even made maths look fun.

It caught my eye that while Charles was photographed high on the rig shooting the picnic stage of the Power of 10, Ray can be seen photographing something completely unrelated out of view behind the back of the van in almost child like distraction.

Maybe I’ll look at taking my eyes OFF the prize more and instead take the time to find the pleasure in the process.

The World of Charles and Ray Eames is at the Barbican until Valentine’s Day

“Take your pleasure seriously.” Charles Eames






Share this post