Unique woman – Ray Eames

Pioneer of design, mother of modern furniture and the great forgotten of the marriage with Charles Eames.

Today we bring you a woman who, without her, we would not have known design as we know it today. Ray Eames and Charles Eames have had one of the most important design careers of the 20th century.

We want to visualize the figure of this great woman and designer since her name is often omitted in the many pieces she designed with her husband, Charles. And so it can be seen if we teleport back to one of his first exhibitions at MOMA called: “New Furniture Design by Charles Eames” where the artists were Ray and Charles Eames.

Eames began his career studying painting, where he met Charles. After their union, both focused on experimenting with new materials to make three-dimensional products. His idea: to create comfortable and affordable chairs. We could say that they were the IKEA of the time.

Together they created the famous Eames Lounge Chair.

They also founded the famous house that would become their home, the Eames House. A space designed in 1945 and built four years later; made with prefabricated materials and declared a National Historic Monument since 2006.

The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded each year by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on behalf of the British monarch. This award has been given since 1848. After 131 galas presenting this award, the Royal Gold Medal was finally awarded to a woman for the first time in 1979.

“Over the past 150 years, the Royal Gold Medal has crossed the Atlantic ten times and tonight will be the eleventh. However, this is only the second occasion that the medal has been awarded to a corporate group of individuals.” Gordon Graham, RIBA president, said at the time of presenting one of the most prestigious awards in architecture to Ray Eames.

It is quite shocking to read the list of award winners over the 173 years that this award has been made and read only five names of women, where two of them are together with a male couple.

  • Ray and Charles Eames (1979)
  • Patricia and Michael Hopkins (1994)
  • Zaha Hadid (2016)
  • Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell (2020)

Meet other artists who have marked a before and after in the architectural world, such as Lilly Reicha woman who was left in the shadow of her husband Mies van der Rohe or Denise Scott Brown who has devoted her entire life to the struggle of women in the world of architecture after being turned down for the Pritzker Prize while it was awarded to her partner and associate, Robert Venturi.

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