Color Block

A startling display of color. This Spanish building demands the attention of the passerby as it jumps out from its neutral surroundings. Although the use of Color Blocking is visible in modern day architecture,  the use of bold blocks of color is not new. Take the groundbreaking example of the work of Charles and Ray Eames below. The Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8, is a landmark of mid-20th century modern architecture. It was constructed in 1949 by husband-and-wife design pioneers Charles and Ray Eames to serve as their home and studio.

Similarly, these two examples express their modularity and create a dynamic visual punch. Of late, it’s a colorful modern expression being seen all the world around.

 

Images 1 and 2, sourced at Trendland
Image 3 sourced at mimoa.eu

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Eames House Restoration

One of the most influential Modernist residences, the home of Charles and Ray Eames is undergoing a complete restoration. The Eames Foundation is focusing on maintaining the 60+ year old structure as part of its 250-year preservation plan. The Eames House’s entire collection of 1,800 living room objects is now on display as part of LACMA’s exhibition on California mid-century design, Living In A Modern Way, a clear indication of the home’s prominence. The temporary removal of those artifacts allowed the Eames Foundation to begin its long-planned renovation along with the restoration of the home’s great icons. The foundation has raised about $250,000 for the project, which they estimate will cost roughly $1 million and take about two and a half years. Additional money is being raised through a series of fundraisers at the house. They hope to complete much of the job while the living room objects are still at LACMA.  The Eames family is involved to ensure every detail is correct. Original structure and finishes are being preserved, as they feel it is important that the structure show its age.

To visit the Eames House during construction is a unique opportunity to view the structure of this historic home while it is exposed. Appointments are required during this time, to gain access to the house and grounds.

Photos and excerpts courtesy of the Eames Foundation and the Architects Newspaper.

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Functional Play

I’m lucky. I have two sweet nieces. Lovely little ladies they are. When selecting a gift for them I can’t help but look for well designed,  useful and experiential objects. It is a joy to share with even the youngest among us, the power of great design. Elements of color and composition, graphic clarity and playfulness must appeal to this set of inquisitive thinkers. Don’t you think? I personally find these designer blocks to be irresistible! Not only do these indestructible playthings invite us to build and explore, they offer a lesson in Modern Architecture and Graphic design.

Above, Eames House Blocks.
Each set of 36 replenishable Michigan-grown basswood blocks represents 29 separate hand-pulled screen passes. In the true Eames spirit, your kids can create a ligneous yard sale on your living room rug while you’re in deep conversation with your guests, then build this living landmark.

Debossed Neutraface Slab Pattern.
“This compact set of 12 Neutraface Slab alphabet blocks above will transmit subliminal stylistic messages to young impressionable minds.”

Alexander Girard Alphabet Blocks
Created by House Industries in a collaboration with the estate of renowned mid-century designer Alexander Girard, the 28 wood blocks feature alphabets based on the Alexander Girard font collection and a cleverly-adapted House Industries factory logo puzzle.

Photo Lettering Blocks
Handmade with House Industries own Photo-Lettering library.

 

All the block sets above are offered by House Industries.

  • Made in the USA
  • Replenishable Michigan-grown, kiln-dried basswood.
  • Printed with non-toxic, lead-free child-safe inks.

All images and excerpts found at House Industries website.

 

 

 


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Stamps, forever…

image credit: USPS

A few years back I made the mistake of not purchasing more of the Charles + Ray Eames stamps. True story: I went to a dozen of post offices in Los Angeles and the verdict was the same everywhere – they were completely sold out. Couldn’t even order them online. So this time, when the Pioneers of American Industrial Design collection came out, I bought, A LOT. And unlike the Eames ones, these are forever stamps, yes! Featuring twelve of American’s most influential industrial designers, the full sheet also showcases the “Airflow” fan designed by Robert Heller. I have been a collector of Russel Wright’s dinnerware for a very long time, so you can imagine how delighted I was to see his flatware design as one of the stamps. To quote Wright, “Good design is for everyone.”™ – I only wish the United States Postal Service will come out with more design-related stamps. Is anyone out there with me on this one?

image credit: Core77

I remember not wanting to use the last two stamps on the bottom – the Aluminum Group Chair and the Molded Plywood Chair. So no doubt they were my favorites. Yours?

Psst! If you would like to purchase the Charles + Eames stamps, check out the Eames Office!

 

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Plywood: Material, Process, Form


Butterfly Stools. 1956. All rights reserved, Sori Yanagi, 2011, United States. Molded plywood and metal, 15 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 12 1/8″ (39.4 x 44.1 x 30.8 cm). Manufactured by Tendo Co., Ltd., Tokyo. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designer, 1958.

Bent plywood is a modern sculptural medium used to create some of the most iconic furniture pieces of the mid-century modern movement. The process provided designers with a freedom of form and expression. The Museum of Modern Art in New York currently has an exhibition displaying some of these modern masterpieces, as well as photography which describes the unique process used to create bent plywood furniture. “Iconic furniture by Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Arne Jacobsen appear alongside organic platters by Tapio Wirkkala (1951), Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool (1956), an architectural model for a prefabricated house by Marcel Breuer (1943), and experimental designs for plywood in the aeronautics industry”. moma.org

Lounge Chair. c. 1944. All rights reserved, Charles Eames and Ray Eames, 2011, United States. Molded plywood and steel rod, 28 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 30″ (73 x 76.5 x 76.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designers, 1973.

Plywood: Material, Process and Form exhibit at MOMA New York, is on view until February 27, 2012.If you are interested in learning more about the process of bent plywood construction, I recommend Bent Ply, by Dung Ngo and Eric Pfeiffer. It delves into the process of this sculptural medium. ”Plywood is a material born of natural wood and formed by vigorous industrial processes that can assume the most organic of shapes through bending, laminating, and molding. Plywood truly fulfills that most modern of dreams: bridging the gap between technology and nature”. bent ply


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