Charles and Ray Eames developed the Eames Storage Units (1949) according to the principles of industrial production.
In 1949, Charles and Ray Eames developed an innovative system of freestanding, multifunctional shelves and desks. Similar to the simultaneously constructed Eames House, these designs adhered to the principles of industrial production: the Eames Storage Unit (ESU) and the Eames Desk Unit (EDU).
In collaboration with the Eames Office and Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, a carefully defined new colour scheme was chosen to give the ESU and EDU a fresh and contemporary look while still celebrating the spirit of the 1940s and '50s. The wider ESU Shelf is available in various heights, from a sideboard to a tall bookshelf. The ESU Bookcase is somewhat narrower and fitted with drawers and sliding doors to provide practical storage options.
From 1941 to 1943, Charles and Ray Eames designed and developed stretchers and leg splints made of moulded plywood, and in 1946 they exhibited their experimental moulded plywood furniture at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The Herman Miller Company in Zeeland, Michigan, subsequently began to produce the Eameses' furniture designs. Charles and Ray participated in the 1948 'Low-Cost Furniture' competition at MoMA, and they built the Eames House in 1949 as their own private residence. Around 1955 they began to focus more on their extensive work as photographers and filmmakers, and in 1964 Charles received an honorary doctoral degree from the Pratt Institute in New York.
The Eames Office designed the IBM Pavilion for the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York, and the year 1969 offered the opportunity to participate in the exhibition 'Qu'est-ce que le design?' at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. In 1970-71, Charles was appointed as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. MoMA again presented an exhibition of the Eameses' work, entitled 'Furniture by Charles Eames', in 1973. Charles Eames died in St. Louis in 1978; Ray's death followed in 1988.
Charles and Ray Eames have had a profound and lasting influence on Vitra. The company's activity as a furniture manufacturer began in 1957 with the production of their designs. Yet it is not just the products of Charles and Ray Eames that have left their mark on Vitra. Even today, their design philosophy continues to profoundly shape the company's values, orientation and goals.