Eames: Beautiful Details
by Eames Demetrios
2014, 408 pages, 12.5 x 9.2 x 2.2 inches
$41 Buy one on Amazon
One of my favorite speakers at San Mateo Maker Faire this year was Llisa Demetrios, granddaughter of Charles Eames. Her talk included very personal remembrances of times with her grandfather and with his wife Ray Eames. Llisa shared family photos taken at their iconic home, Case Study House #8, as well as playful letters from her grandfather in rebus form and rare snips of their short films. All very charming and enjoyable to get an inside look at Charles and Ray Eames. If you missed it, you now have a second chance to explore the personal side of the Eames in Eames: Beautiful Details.
The title is apt as the unusual format with 400 twice-as-wide-as-tall pages makes for panoramic layout spreads, not unlike the multi screen format of their films. You may think you have seen some of these images before, but not like this with extra detail and context. And as Charles Eames famously said, “The details are not the details; the details make the product,” or in this case, the book.
This elegant book is organized by chapters for each of the various aspects of the Eames’ work, e.g., graphics+textiles, furniture+experiments, toys+games, etc., with personal essays and quotes by three generations of the Eames family: Charles and Ray, daughter Lucia Eames, and grandkids. It’s like sitting down with the family and their photo album. The many candid (and cleverly posed) photos depict their proto-Maker life, with work, family and home all blended together in and around their lively house/studio: Charles at a Moviola at work on a film, Ray designing textiles and painting, then, later, the same space reconfigured as a giant play area for visiting grandkids with a mountain of boxes for stacking (and crashing!).
The Eames’ love of color, design and detail are evident in the book’s many full-page photos and generous layouts. Even lowly, everyday objects become a colorful kaleidoscope of tools, kites, flowers, textures, and more. You can tour the historic Eames house today, but it’s like a quiet museum. All that’s left now of the Eames’ original design office in Venice, CA is a memorial wall with a few photos. On the other hand, Eames: Beautiful Details is very much alive with the life and work, family and friends of Charles and Ray Eames.