How would I have known back in the ’70s when I was waiting in a dingy Greyhound bus station that I was sitting on one of the most innovative furniture designs of the 20th century?
I didn’t know a thing about Charles Ormond Eames, Jr. and Bernice Alexandra “Ray”, the husband and wife team, who would become cultural icons for generations of future designers. I didn’t even know that I would become a designer.
In the ’70s i just thought the chairs were horribly uncomfortable, usually covered in a layer of grime that shaded their original bright pastel colors and were just plain ugly to boot.
The chairs made out of a plastic resin were durable, lightweight and obviously suited for a variety of uses. And they were everywhere! From airports, to greasy diners, to doctors offices, they basically signaled that you were in for a long wait.
But in the 21st century, they are admired, imitated, redesigned for and by a new generation, and the Eames are duly revered and studied for their genius as well as quirkiness.
No matter how I was first introduced to the Eames chair as I now know it’s called, I have come to love at least the idea of the chair as a milestone for the modern era that we have all come to know and love. I especially love the graphic design that the chair has inspired in today’s designers.
I love it more now that I can view it in a museum rather than a dingy bus station in one of the lonely roads to nowhere of my youth.