Back in 1992, my professor in design school freshman year Typography 101, said to the class: “The Power of Ten†.” It was in the context of looking at typography from both a microscopic point of view as well as a wide perspective in which letters form words to form sentences to form paragraphs to form lines of varying darkness (illustrating roman and bold weights; if you don’t understand typography or design jargons, don’t worry about it). And that was the very first time ever in my whole blessed life as a creative to have come across the name: Eames.
As a young design student at the time, I began to learn that the Eameses are a very important part of American design history, as well as the most celebrated creative couple ever. It didn’t take long for Charles and Ray Eames to become my design heroes and inspiration. So when I received an invitation to check out the Essential Eames exhibition at the Art Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands, I totally JUMPED AT IT. Even though this wasn’t my first time seeing an Eames exhibition, this creative couple had done soooooooooooo much creatively that there are lots of documentation so I wanted to find out first-hand what was the curated presentation at the Art Science Museum exhibition.
Based on the book, An Eames Primer‡ by the pair’s grandson Eames Demetrios, the exhibition traces the life and work of the husband-and-wife design team who are credited with “…changing the way the 20th Century sat down” (The Washington Post). It is co-presented by ArtScience Museum and global furniture company Herman Miller in collaboration with the California-based Eames Office. Most known for their timeless furniture creations, the Eameses’ influence and innovation extended far beyond that into architecture, exhibition design, toy making and film. Featuring over 100 pieces, Essential Eames will showcase a number of rare and never-before-seen works and images from the Eames family collection, the Eames Office, and the archives of Herman Miller. The design duo‟s unique relationship with Herman Miller, the manufacturer of Eames products, will also be highlighted throughout the exhibition.
The timeless furniture creations of Charles and Ray Eames have provided the visual backdrop in homes and offices around the world for the better part of the last century. Yet their influence and innovation extends far beyond furniture, as their distinctive work in architecture, exhibition design, toy making, film and philosophy is prolific. Essential Eames will showcase the vastness and variety of the couple’s unmatched creative output.
This fabric pattern by Ray Eames has inspired my manicure – yes, of all things, manicure. For the hardcore design-oriented, this pattern is iconic, that’s why. ;)
Photographs by Charles Eames.
And this is what I believe creatives ought to be, isn’t it? To always explore other forms of art and creative expressions – be it photography, music, fashion, film, painting, architecture, writing, and so on and so forth.
I genuinely find the Eameses an inspiration because their body of work is so broad. I don’t think we should be pigeonholed by our job titles (referring to day jobs) as that’s just a mean to pay the bills. Creative expression ought to be delivered in various different ways and not always so implicitly tied to commercial considerations. That, to me, is a fulfilling creative life and the sort of legacy that I’ve been spending the last two decades to establish.
There was a period in my life circa 1999-2000 when I was furiously looking for an original vintage Eames molded plastic chair, first designed in 1949. I spent hours, weeks, months (!) keeping a very close eye on eBay and was damn happy when I finally scored three off-white ones with stackable legs. I won them in separate auctions at an average price of US$90-ish if I remember correctly. Sadly, I sold them off prior to moving to Singapore. Maybe I should have kept them, eh? They were vintage after all. -_-” FYI, new ones cost US$329 to US$628 (read this NYTimes article about a new recyclable material launched last month).
Lately though, I’ve been coveting an Eames office chair – particularly in white. But I haven’t gotten around to really shopping for one, which entails comparing models, prices, reading reviews, blablalba…. ya know how I roll.
Doesn’t this look comfortable!?!? I spend way too much time in front of my computer and can really use a great chair that looks as stylish as it’s functional. My neck and lower back will certainly thank me.
I have a bunch of photos from another Eames exhibition I went to in LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) back in uhm, 2012…. I’ve been meaning to post about that but it kept slipping my mind. D’oh! I will get around to that one of these days.
This is the Essential Play space in level 3, free and open to Essential Eames: A Herman Miller Exhibition ticket holders. The two activities conducted here are: (1) Playing with Masks, and (2) Mini Furniture Creations.
Playing with Masks | Saturdays & Sundays, 3.30pm-4.30pm
Get into the spirit of Charles and Ray Eames’ love of play and character with masks that you can decorate and take home.
Mini Furniture Creations | Exhibition hours
Create your own unique miniature furniture to take home using materials which range from the traditional to the surprising.
I’m a wee sour for not having enough time to partake in any of the activities during my visit. It’d have been fun!
By the way, there is also a Guided Tour for Adults every Saturdays & Sundays, 11.30am. The meeting point is at the exhibition entrance at Upper Galleries (Level 3). Stickers will be given out five minutes before the tour time.
Alternatively, if you want to explore the exhibition at your own pace, you can also rent the interactive digital guide that provides audio commentary, background information and images of the exhibitions. Rent this at the ArtScience Museum Box Office.
The subject matter of design pioneers and classic design icons is of great significance to me personally, so I naturally find the entire exhibition to be extremely worth it. In fact, I am already planning to return again to appreciate the exhibition the second time and also pick up souveniers. (No time during this visit.) PLEASE DO NOT MISS THIS EXHIBITION!!!
Exhibition date: Until 5 January 2014. Art Science Museum ticketing information here.
† Check out the book here: Powers of Ten.
‡ Check out the book here: An Eames Primer.