Good things come in threes, especially when it comes with an Eames theme. This weekend, get a 360 Charles and Ray Eames experience by planning a full day of activities from Miracle Mile to Pacific Palisades.
Start your day at LACMA’s “California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way” where the Eameses’ living room (with all 1,865 objects) is recreated in all its glory. Some objects may even be in better condition that it was at the original site, says Lucia Dewey Atwood, grandchild of Charles Eames.
“As part of the move, LACMA’s responsibility was to bring back the objects in at least as good, if not better shape. [LACMA] needed to do some repairs on very fragile and delicate things that would have ripped more if they tried to move them as they were,” says Atwood.
Among the items beautifully repaired by LACMA were the japanese lantern that can prominently be seen in the living area and the heavy bookshelf that suffered some torquing from the Northridge earthquake.
Unlike the severe Modern living rooms that many of us would imagine, the Eames living room evidently warm, well-loved, filled to the brim with sentimental artifacts.
After you’ve had your fill, stop by the Architecture and Design Museum across LACMA to take in not just Charles and Ray Eames’ beautiful objects, but also their compelling philosophy. You won’t miss it. Bold letters spell out E-A-M-E-S from the museum’s window on Wilshire.
Inside, the E’s actually stretch back to form actual shelves that hold the exhibition “artifacts.” The exhibition isn’t the usual parade of objects put on a pedestal, but “a glimpse into the Eameses’ lives, the things they loved, their incredible sense of the uncommon beauty of uncommon things,” says exhibition designer Deborah Sussman.
There are no “precious” objects put on view, only humble objects like Rye bread and Swiss cheese, toys, an Indian place setting, which many of us pass over in favor of more celebrated objects. But these mundane things take on significance after having read the quotes pasted on the shelves and walls. The quotes were re-told by those who worked closely with the Eameses or researched by the exhibition team.
“Eames Words” is a great complement to the massive exhibition at LACMA next door. Intimate and infinitely digestible, one leaves the exhibition with a new perspective on the simpler, more humble things in life.
Finally, re-introduced to the Eames canon, make your way to the tony Pacific Palisades area, where the Eames Foundation is holding a fundraising that will go toward the preservation of the Eames House. With the living room empty of all its contents, the Eames grandchildren are hosting a wine and cheese party this Saturday, October 15 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Visitors will get a chance to experience the room as Charles and Ray Eames did Christmas 1949, when they first moved in. Atwood also shares that many friends and staffers from the Eames Office will also be on hand to share fond memories of this design titan of a couple.
If you go, be sure to check out the lonely tumbleweed that hangs at the corner of the living room, a memento from Charles and Ray’s crosscountry honeymoon drive to Los Angeles; it was deemed too fragile to be moved to LACMA.
At $250 a pop, ticket price is pretty steep, but every cent goes right into the house, promises Atwood. Call (424) 229-4038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Featured image show the Eames House exterior, Living Room © Eames Office, LLC. 1994. Photographer Timothy Street-Porter. Additional photography by Carren Jao.