The last time I checked in with Charles and Ray Eames, Ice Cube was singing/rapping the praises of the 20th century’s most influential husband-and-wife design duo in a promotional video for Pacific Standard Time: “In a world full of McMansions, where destruction takes up all of the land, the Eameses made structure and nature one. This is going green 1949-style, b****. Believe that.”
Considering his utmost respect for the “resourceful” couple, the notorious rapper-turned-TBS producer would no doubt be throwing his weight behind a new conservation campaign launched by the Eames Foundation. The goal? To protect and preserve one of his favorite design haunts in all of Los Angeles: the Eames House.
With the aim of “celebrating and transmitting the legacy and philosophy of Charles and Ray” while conserving the lounge chair-creating couple’s landmark Pacific Palisades home/studio — or as it's also known, Case Study House No. 8 — for the next 250 years, the Eames Foundation is looking to raise $150,000. And they very much need your help.
To fund the grassroots conservation campaign, the foundation is selling a series of four limited-edition prints “inspired by the elegant geometry and understated simplicity of Eames designs.” Only 500 of each original, hand-numbered print will be produced. Atlanta-based marketing agency Nebo is behind both the design of the prints and the campaign website.
The cost for each print is a non-too-shabby $75 a pop. Personally, I’m partial to the “Take Your Pleasure Seriously” design.
For each print sold, furniture manufacturers Herman Miller and Vitra will contribute a matching donation of $75 through the Authenticity Fund. As for the donations, they’ll go toward the various preservation efforts that are central to the Eames House 250 Year Project: Conserving damaged items and preserving original materials; sealing the envelope of the glass and steel structure; developing a climate control plan; taking a comprehensive inventory of the home’s contents; developing a long-term plan for grounds and implementation, and more.
Says Eames Demetrios, chairman of the board of the Eames Foundation and grandson of Charles and Ray: "The Eames House is over 60 years old and holding up quite well. However, we realized that in order to keep it that way, we needed to think over a much longer timescale.” He notes that the project will require “adopting a conservation approach more akin to taking care of a work of art" and “distinguishing between the beauty of the patina of age and damage that threatens the house itself.”
With regard to the heavily prefabricated home's impact on modern architecture, Eames scholar Daniel Ostroff sums it up quite nicely to the Los Angeles Times: "There's a horrible trend in architecture today where the last person that everybody thinks about is the user. In its concerns for practicality, use, beauty, durability and cost, the Eames House is the most important innovation in home design since the tepee."
Head on over to the Eames House 250 Year Project website to learn more about the work of Charles and Ray Eames via a most-excellent historical timeline and to get more details about this mighty significant restoration project. And, of course, you can also help to keep current — think of Ice Cube! — and future midcentury modern design enthusiasts down the line — all the way through 2263! — happy by purchasing a print.