Tables! Tables! Tables! unpacks the Eameses' underappreciated mastery of everyday design
By Josh Niland|
Monday, Mar 27, 2023
The latest exhibition to grace California’s Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity will focus on an overlooked but important area of the Eameses’ four-decade output — table designs — in a timely showcase that speaks to the breadth of the couple’s legendary problem-solving abilities with form, material, and the challenge to deliver high-quality products to American consumers at mass scale.
Now on view, Tables! Tables! Tables! presents a narrative to counter the common notion that the artistic genius of Ray and Charles was confined mostly to their chairs, the Pacific Palisades Case Study house, and small plywood object designs.
“The Eames tables presented here — from one-off prototypes that test a technique or idea, to iterations that show how designs continued to be developed, to production models that offer a window into their systemic design approach, to more personal customizations — demonstrate the designers’ thoughtful approach,” Kim Colin, architect and co-founder of London-based studios Industrial Facility and Future Facility, wrote in a special companion essay which supports the exhibition. “While the chairs may have gotten the bulk of the attention, the Eameses showed that tables are equally important and useful cohabitants. They literally set the table for how we live with them now.”
Examples from the Eameses’ work for Herman Miller will accompany other pieces like the DTM-20 that showcases what Colin calls an “enduring appeal.”
Chief Curator Llisa Demetrios (who is also the Eameses' youngest granddaughter) said: “Curating this exhibit was an absolute joy. It’s fascinating thinking of the countless iterations that my grandparents went through to create each table. Although somewhat simple upon first thought, each table has its own detailed background and meaning in the history of their designs.”
As always, the exhibition will provide viewers with a unique opportunity to chart the beginnings of a craft industrial furniture-making process that has since spawned the likes of IKEA and other welcomed brands while inspiring still others to pursue evermore egalitarian notions of design for a mass market.
This is now the seventh exhibit to be held at the Institute, following a recent look at Ray's handiwork and the evolution of the couple's Aluminium Group designs after 1957.
Additional information about the Eames Institute can be found here.
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