Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Director of Eames Foundation at INDEX 2011
Photo by Samiha Naaz

On 24th October 2011 at INDEX 2011 held a unique seminar, called ‘Eames- Why is it timeless?’ by Mr. Eames Demetrios, the Director of Eames Foundation located in Los Angeles. He talked about Eames, the office and about the significant product manufactured there.

Chairs- a simple product that we use every day; it is present in offices, schools, hospitals almost everywhere. It’s made out of a variety of items such as leather, plastic, metal or wood and much more.  We see it in a furniture shop and buy it immediately if we like it, but let’s stop to think for a minute as to who must have thought of that design, or who is the one who made that chair we just bought.

Eames Foundation is one such company who has been making chairs for a very long time. Mr. Demetrios started off by introducing his grandparents Mrs. And Mr. Charles and Ray Eames, famously called Charles and Ray, the legacy of the Eames Foundation and how the couple brought about their ideas into existence through furniture designs.

Most of us wouldn’t know, but the idea of moulding plywood to make a chair was Mr. Charles’s invention, and he gave a lot of his time to perfect that. The Eames Foundation is involved in a lot of areas, like architecture, multimedia and film-making; Charles and Ray have made a lot of films that introduced the method of problem-solving to the people, “they were very good at making people see the commonality of things”, said Mr. Demetrios.

The reason why Eames chairs are considered ‘timeless’ is because once a design was thought; it’s immediately made into a prototype and then tested by Charles in every possible way to find any faults, if present. And in every design, Charles and Ray had given their total attention to detail which still exists at Eames.

The most influential part of the seminar was the question and answer session where Mr. Demetrios involved the audience effectively. When asked by one student whether the Eames Office only continues what Charles and Ray had designed or creates new ideas for furniture, he said, “The mission statement of Eames Office is to communicate, preserve and extend what Charles and Ray started, so if there are any new designs or ideas, they are manufactured outside Eames Office.”

Another student also asked if Mr. Demetrios was inspired by his grandparents and designed furniture by himself or not, and he laughed and said, “Well, I mainly design films and do storytelling. But it is important to know that inspiration is a more of a process, I learned this from my grandparents that the process of doing something is of value, whatever may be the outcome, the process of doing it matters.”

Along with industry professionals, the seminar was also attended by students from the Sharjah English School.

Report by Zainab Akbarali