Echoes of Eames in today's designs
Cindy W. Hodnett -- Furniture Today, May 15, 2013
With modern furniture from the 1950s and 1960s continuing to inspire product development and with secondary market prices attesting to the style's continued popularity with consumers, the work of Charles and Ray Eames continues to influence contemporary designers. However, even for manufacturers that do not produce modern furniture, some of Charles Eames' design philosophies can be valuable product development blueprints of sorts.
"The real questions are: Does it solve a problem? Is it serviceable? How is it going to look in 10 years?" - Charles Eames
Although design as an art form is lauded throughout the world, Eames was correct to highlight its practical role. For the average consumer, avant garde design might be appreciated, but when it comes to placement in the home, a product must be functional. Eames understood this and designed pieces that had form, function and a future. Many of the "hits" at the recent High Point Market exhibited the same triumvirate - appealing and also comfortable designs that would not become dated.
"Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design."
Sectional sofas and upholstered headboards are two of the strongest categories in upholstered furniture, and Eames' quote speaks to the reason. Today's consumer is busy and "free" time is scarce. When she finally has time to relax, she's spending it with her family and friends, and sectionals accommodate a crowd with an efficient floor space footprint. And when not with a group, Ms. Consumer is often enjoying a movie or reading in bed; upholstered headboards offer comfort and the ability to transform a bed into a style statement via fabric.
"Beyond the age of information is the age of choices."
Charles Eames would no doubt embrace the technology explosion that has created a global, world-at-your-fingertips society. And he was ahead of his time in recognizing the inherent value of choice. When a consumer can see how everyone else lives, she will often want to incorporate some of what she sees into her own home. The popularity of customization options programs at retail proves that to the consumer, options aren't optional.
"100 Quotes by Charles Eames" was released in honor of the designer's 100th birthday in 2007. Its pages contain wisdom that transforms an abstract concept into practical, valid commentary.
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