The legacy of Charles and Ray Eames? A model to be exported far beyond the restricted circle of industrial designers. With this spirit, curator Llisa Demetrios, granddaughter of the Eameses, and Joe Rebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, announce the birth of a new non-profit organization, the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, aimed at rediscovering the two American designers’ methodology as a tool to tackle the challenges of the present and trigger “chain reactions”, in the words of Llisa Demetrios, thanks to the structured impulse to creativity left by the couple as a universal legacy.
Located at the Eames Ranch, built by Llisa’s mother, the artist Lucia Eames, to house not only the farm but also her atelier, the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity houses the large design collection assembled over the years by Charles and Ray in the historic residence of the Eames House in Los Angeles. The tens of thousands of pieces that make up their archive, including products, prototypes, samples, material for exhibitions and anonymous objects, will be the starting point for the organization of themed exhibitions. Three exhibits are currently on show: “Before They Were the Eameses”, an excursus on the lives of Ray and Charles before they met, “Plywood During the War”, an in-depth look at the user-centered methodology used by the Eameses to support the war effort, and “Form Follows Formulation”, a focus on the Shell Chair and its evolution throughout the designers' careers.
The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity – funded by Rebbia, a designer by training – joins two other institutions working to preserve the Eames legacy, The Eames Office, founded in 1941 by Charles and Ray and now run by their five grandchildren, and the Eames Foundation, founded in 2004 to safeguard the Eames House.