The Eames Institute Makes a Permanent Home – SURFACE

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When the Eames Institute for Infinite Curiosity launched in 2022, Llisa Demetrios had a giant task on her hands. Besides heading up a nonprofit that aims to bring the wisdom of the industrial designers Ray and Charles Eames to the masses through an online magazine and virtual exhibitions, she was charged with unpacking the trove of ephemera the late duo used throughout their practice in Venice Beach. At the time, Demetrios estimated the collection would easily exceed 20,000 objects, each requiring cataloging, conserving, and photographing as it relocated to the private Eames Ranch in Northern California.

Demetrios—a curator, MoMA archivist, and granddaughter to Charles and Ray—was up for the task. Two years and nine exhibitions later, the Eames Institute for Infinite Curiosity is gearing up to open its vast collection to the public for the first time in a refurbished building in Richmond, California. Comprising a gallery, collections center, and archive study center, the headquarters will serve as a permanent space to experience the Eames’s trove firsthand. Through smart displays designed by Brooklyn firm Standard Issue, the Institute will offer an incisive view into the duo’s practice and creative process, featuring materials that range from mass-produced furniture staples and one-of-a-kind prototypes to personal keepsakes and correspondence.

It also turns out that 20,000 items was a conservative estimate—the complete archive has double that amount. Beyond models of molded plastic chairs and wooden stools synonymous with the Eames name, the collection contains some offbeat picks that may even surprise the most seasoned design connoisseurs. Few may know the duo developed prototype airplane parts for the U.S. Navy, but an Airplane Stabilizer (1943) on view reveals how they molded and laminated plywood into aerodynamic forms. Perhaps the most revealing is a fake diploma that Saul Steinberg designed in complete gibberish for Charles, who studied architecture but never graduated. College isn’t for everyone, but a field trip to the Eames Institute might be.

“Seeing the collection brought together under one roof like this for the first time provides myself and The Eames Institute new opportunities for sharing the many facets of the grandparents’ story in entirely new ways,” Demetrios tells Surface. “The Eames Archives is so special to me because it holds the things my grandparents loved and cherished—it’s an absolute joy to be able to share these pieces in this way.”

All photography by Nicholas Calcott.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Surface Magazine by .  Read the original article -