Sheer design diversity, the home ware accessories of Charles and Ray Eames
In between the (now famous) varied ranges of successful furniture designs, synonymous with the original Eames Office and Herman miller, came other designs for a variety of domestic purposes, known as the Eames homewares and accessories.
These were no mere knick knacks, nor ornamental inanimate objects, but super cool, super functional designs with what can only be described as having a cult following today. Some were highly popular whilst others were expensive, rare and very hard to find indeed.
The experimental phase of the original Eames Office during the mid-1940’s resulted in one of the most famous ranges of furniture ever produced, the plywood series. It was developed at first with the Evans Molded Plywood Division, and later with Herman Miller. Whilst the LCW, DCM and corresponding tables (among others) went on to achieve furniture design stardom, the experimental phase was put to great use in creating a whole raft of designs fit for the American home.
Some of the experimentation of the time resulted in some of the homewares and accessories to be born within this period of creativity. The molded plywood could be formed into a great many varying shapes and sizes giving way to a huge number of potential uses. It is widely believed that many designs were conceived during this time from plywood, but with just a view making it as commercially viable products. The most significant, certainly during the time period, was that of the plywood Radio enclosures. Several very well-known radio manufacturers, aided with an upturn in post war sales, enlisted the Eames Office and Evans Molded Plywood Company to create the Radio bodies from the newly developed material. Some Eames design experts have speculated that there could be well over thirty radio enclosure designs made and potentially gramophone cabinets too. Official records can only attribute some of the designs as emanating from the Eames Office but either way, many thousands were made and distributed across the USA.
The formed plywood Pipe Stand is one of those homeware products attributed to Charles Eames and made with the material of the day. Very little is known about it or how many were produced but it is always nice to imagine that it was a favorite side project of Charles Eames, whom was often famously pictured with a pipe in hand. Ray too had one of her beautiful textile designs called 'Seathings' printed onto a series of serving trays during the mid 1950's by Waverley products
The FSW screen, sold alongside the plywood furniture series, was very much a product of the era. In a time when space was a real premium, the ability to section off a room with varying lengths and heights of concertinaed screens was extremely useful.
One of the most well-known homewares, and indeed most colorful, was the Eames Hang It All coat rack, an ingenious design of colored wooden balls against a white wire frame. This sputnik like simplistic design was made by Tigrett until their untimely folding a short number of years later but it was thankfully resurrected after some decades as part of the re-imagining of the classics by Herman Miller.
One of the most elusive of the Eames homeware designs were the speaker enclosures, made for Stephens Trusonic. They were expensive high-quality products and were not made in high numbers. They remain one of the 'holy grail' pieces of Eames collectors the world over.