Today we review the Eames Architect Painter Film on Netflix. It was produced, however, by PBS “American Masters” series (officially titled “Eames: The Architect & The Painter”). Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 88% thumbs up (which is excellent for them!). I’ve always adored the approach, sensibility, eccentricity, ideas and designs of Ray (Ray-Bernice Kaiser) and Charles Eames. Originally, designed as far back as the 1940’s, the designs are timeless & still manufactured today.
Beginnings of Ray and Charles Eames
The Eames Architect Painter Film title has an ironic twist. Actually, Charles Eames dropped out of an architecture scholarship from Washington University. Despite that, he went on to become a successful and inventive architect. Yet, Charles is more well known from his output with Ray and The Eames Office.
Ray was an esteemed painter in her own right (studying under Hans Hoffman). But, when the Eames Office took off, she utilized her “special eye” for painting into designs and other projects. Ray always pined to be the painter again. Thats the feeling I got from the film.
I never gave up painting, I just changed my palette.— Ray Eames
Charles and Ray met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Charles was a mentor and one of Ray’s educators there. They fell in love, he divorced his wife, and both left for Southern California where The Eames Office was born.
The Eames Office
After building the office to 50 co -workers or more, some would describe their job as “coming to work in Disneyland” or of “walking into a circus”. More examples of work atmosphere quoted by Charles Eames himself were:
- “It makes me feel guilty that anybody should have such a good time doing what they are supposed to do.”
- “Take your pleasure seriously”
- “We work because it’s a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next.”
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life” could easily have been the “kooky” Eames Office credo
Q: Ray, What do you and Charles do for relaxation? This question catches her by surprise as the couple worked most days from 9am-10pm
A: Well, for fun we are connecting ideas or discussing subjects which will lead to the next project. Not the usual tennis, going to the beach, reading books for relaxation answer, for sure!
Upbeat and happy, The Eames brought playfulness and colour to the Modern Movement of design. Although Charles was the “face ” of the Eames Office – make no mistake that every project was co-produced & created by Ray Eames, as well.
Anything I can do, Ray can do better.— Charles Eames
Eames Architect Painter Film Review
This Eames Architect Painter Film on Netflix is one of the best documentaries about artists, designers I’ve seen. The pace is fast and you are engaged in this story. Which is a love story and a love of work story. It is fascinating how The Eames lived thru their work and the mark they made in the world through their designs, of practically everything. Truly amazing story.
Search for “Eames: The Architect & The Painter” is official title on Netflix or YouTube. Jason Cohen is director and narrated by James Franco. Cohen does a extraordinary job of revealing the “play as work” & “work as play” attitude of The Eames Office. As well as, the hardships and tensions between Charles and Ray. And, Franco, well you could listen to him narrate about anything, right? Nice choice!
No need to be a designer or know who Ray and Charles Eames are to enjoy this movie. The direction, screenplay and setting of this documentary are superb. I give it a two thumbs up!
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** This video below is not the trailer to “Eames: The Architect & The Painter” but, rather a nice upbeat song and mass amount of images of their work thru the years. To me it celebrates the essence, scope and playfulness these icons delivered to the world and the Modern Movement of design.