Eames: The Architect And The Painter
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The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely considered America’s most important designers
They gave their name to an era. “Just like Queen Victoria represents an attitude toward life that is reflected in Victorian art and literature, Eames also embodies a certain approach to life and to ideas,” notes film director Paul Schrader early in this eye-opening documentary about the iconic American industrial designers.
The “Eames Era,” which began in the optimistic flush of American victory in WWII, ended when Charles died in 1978. Yet their impact grows unabated. The work of Charles and Ray Eames remains for designers and consumers an ideal of design at its most virtuous – an alchemical combination of beauty and purpose.
Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a bewildering variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. Narrated by James Franco, the film draws from a trove of archival material, primarily the stunning films and photographs produced in mind-boggling volume by Charles, Ray, and their staff during the hyper-creative forty years of the Eames Office. Family members and design historians help guide the story, but it is in interviews with the junior designers swept into the “24-7” world of “The Eamery,”, that a fascinatingly complex picture of this husband and wife creative team really emerges.
A Film by Jason Cohn & Bill Jersey
Narrated by James Franco
Catticus Corporation (Quest Productions / Bread & Butter Films)
PBS - American Masters