Art League Lecture: Furniture Design as Art: Eames Furniture History

Dates: Wed Dec 12, 12

Time: 10:00am

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Kalamazoo, MI

(269) 349-7775

Carla Hartman

Carla Atwood Hartman

Carla Atwood Hartman, the granddaughter of Charles and Ray Eames, will discuss the history of the famous Eames furniture design and lead a tour of Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum after the lecture reception.

Free for Art League Members/$10 KIA Members/$12 general admission/$3 students with valid college ID.

Ms. Hartman is a Board member of the Eames Foundation and is also its Director of Education. She collaborates with museums, schools, institutions, and the public to extend the creative legacy of Charles and Ray Eames through interactive programming and exhibitions, publications and product development. In addition she works tirelessly to preserve the Eames House and to expand the public's engagement with this National Historic Landmark located in the Pacific Palisades, California.

In addition to her work for the Foundation, Hartman has been involved in many museum-related projects including serving as a Master Teacher of Architecture, Design & Graphics at the Denver Art Museum, and an Educator-in-Residence at both the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. While much of her current work focuses on the Eames, she also uses chairs - a singular collecting passion - as teaching tools about design and the design process.

Early in their careers together, Charles and Ray Eames identified the need for affordable, yet high-quality furniture for the average consumer -- furniture that could serve a variety of uses. For forty years the Eameses experimented with ways to meet this challenge, designing flexibility into their compact storage units and collapsible sofas for the home; seating for stadiums, airports, and schools; and chairs for virtually anywhere.

Their chairs were designed for Herman Miller in four materials -- molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent and welded wire mesh, and cast aluminum. The conceptual backbone of this diverse work was the search for seat and back forms that comfortably support the human body, using three dimensionally shaped surfaces or flexible materials instead of cushioned upholstery. An ethos of functionalism informed all of their furniture designs. "What works is better than what looks good," Ray said. "The looks good can change, but what works, works."

Eames Furniture

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