Charles & Ray Eames – at the vanguard of design

In February and March, the Artek Helsinki store finds its inspiration in the world of Charles & Ray Eames. The display drawing on their production is available on Keskuskatu until 29 March 2019.

Eameses Historical A6 ©Eames Office Llc Pieni

The legendary US designer duo Charles & Ray Eames are first and foremost known for their timeless furniture but also for their groundbreaking contributions to, for example, architecture, film, and graphic design. Their design work is perhaps best described by “way-it-should-be-ness”, a concept they created referring to purpose. Design is particularly successful when nobody comes to think that the object in question has required any design work at all.

Eames Fibreglass Chair is their best-known classic


The fibreglass chairs designed by Ray & Charles were launched on the market in the 1950s. These multipurpose chairs were groundbreakers in their time; the seat shell could be combined with several different bases. During the decade following the launch, the fibreglass chairs were already considered among the major design classics of our time.

Later the fibreglass seat was replaced by Eames Plastic Chair. Vitra returned the original fibreglass chair to its collection in 2018 as a result of long-term production method development. Now both models are part of the Vitra collection.

Learn about alternative Eames Fibreglass Chair models DSR, DSX and DSW.

2578526 Plate Dining Table Eames Fiberglass Chairs Nuage V Fullbleed 1440X
Eames Fibreglass Chair DSW

Eames House - a house of inspiration

Ray & Charles Eames designed the Eames House in 1949 to function as their home and studio. Today the building is an icon of mid-20th century modern, experimental architecture.

Known as Case Study House No. 8, the house is located in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Eames House consists of two glass and steel rectangular boxes: one is a residence, and one, a working studio. The facades are essentially black-painted grids with different-sized inserts of glass and colored surfaces.

The house was a home filled with gifts from friends, family and colleagues and echoed the couple’s design philosophy: the objective to naturally meet the purpose of the building. The Eameses believed in honest use of materials and straightforward connections. In their design, they strived to serve the user of the product in the best possible way. Regarding the house, they redesigned and rethought it to meet the needs of the residents as well as guests.

“Just as a good host tries to anticipate the needs of his guest, so a good architect or a designer or a city planner tries to anticipate the needs of those who will live in or use the thing being designed.” -Charles Eames

For the Artek Helsinki display, we have picked out some elements typical to the Eames House: the light coming through the large windows was softened by curtains, and in addition to the furniture designed by the Eameses, the rooms were adorned with many books, versatile artwork and collectibles. In our store, you can see and learn about the Eames classics, which include the Eames Storage Unit ESU and Eames Desk Unit EDU designed at the same time with the Eames House in 1949. The storage system reiterates the visual appearance of the house, featuring metal grids and colored surfaces. Following the structural principles of the Eames House, these products were designed
in accordance with the principles of industrial production in the 1950's.

In addition the store display features two very different lounge chairs Eames Lounge Chair, La Chaise, and other classics from the designer couple.

An encounter with the Eameses’ work spurred the foundation of Vitra. Specialized in shop fittings, Willi Fehlbaum fell in love with Eames furniture during his trip to New York in the 1950s and wanted to expand his business to furniture manufacture. Fehlbaum became friends with the Eameses and received the rights to manufacture their designs in Europe; this is how project Vitra got started. Artek has been the Vitra reseller in Finland since early 2000s.

Learn about Charles & Ray Eames’ extensive production at

Read more about the Eames House.

Browse the Ray & Charles Eames designs included in the Vitra collection here.

Previously at Artek Helsinki

Artek Helsinki
Keskuskatu 1 B
00100 Helsinki, Finland
tel. +358 10 617 3480
Mon-Sat 10:00 – 18:00