A couple of years ago N.W.A. frontman Ice Cube shot a short celluloid tribute to Charles and Ray Eames. Without even having to use his AK …
We didn’t think anything more culturally acontextual could happen to the pair.
And now ?
On Thursday March 7th the exhibition “Eames by Vitra” opens at the Wasserschloß Klaffenbach in Chemnitz.
A Charles and Ray Eames exhibition. In Chemnitz.
The story of Charles and Ray Eames as furniture designers starts with their collaborations with Hermann Miller. The story of Vitra starts when Willi Fehlbaum gets a fleeting glimpse from a taxi of an Eames by Herman Miller chair in a New York shop window. The rest, as they say…..
In contrast to the succession of events relayed in most Ice Cube tracks what began as a drive-by episode didn’t end with anyone runnin’, fallin’, yellin’ or indeed cussin’, but quickly developed into a mutually respectful, long-term relationship. A relationship that was much more than simple business; rather developed into a genuine friendship from which both parties profited and developed. Indeed Rolf Fehlbaum, son of Willi and current Vitra Chairman, still approaches important decisions with the philosophy “What would Charles and Ray say?”
Shortly after her father’s death Charles Eames’ daughter Lucia wrote: The trust which the Eames placed in Vitra was more than rewarded with the loyalty and commitment of the Fehlbaums. Rolf Fehlbaum kept the promise he made to Ray: to be the best global ambassador of Charles and Ray Eames’ ideas…
Part of that promise is the exhibition “Eames by Vitra”
Featuring the complete Charles and Ray Eames seating collection, complimented by examples of their tables and sideboards “Eames by Vitra” is a comprehensive if compact introduction to the outpouring of creative energy that was unquestionably the most important design studio in the context of mid-20th century design.
In addition to the Eames furniture the exhibition also features photos, background texts, examples of Ray Eames’ graphic design and videos of and by Charles and Ray Eames, all of which helps place the pair and their canon in context of their age. A particular highlight is an example of the moulded plywood leg-splints Charles Eames created for the US Army – leg-splints which in effect started the whole story as they proved that Charles Eames’ moulding process not only worked but was suitable for serial production. It also brought the young Charles and Ray Eames some much needed cash.
In our interview with Antonio Citterio he describes Charles Eames as “…an incredible designer and visionary and without question one of the best from the 20th century.”
Viewing “Eames by Vitra” it is hard to disagree.
We’re fairly certain even a hardened Gangsta like Ice Cube would think twice before leaving the mean streets of 1980s South Central LA for South Central Sachsen. Even to view a Charles and Ray Eames exhibition. We however are going.
And when we do …… we’ll be postin’ Straight Outta Chemnitz.
“Eames by Vitra” can be viewed at the Wasserschloß Klaffenbach, Wasserschloßweg 6, 09123 Chemnitz from Friday March 8th until Sunday April 7th 2013.
Full details can be found at www.wasserschloss-klaffenbach.de
In the interest of transparency we must add that “Eames by Vitra at Wasserschloß Klaffenbach Chemnitz” is a co-production with (smow) Chemnitz.