Eames Demetrious – The Keynote @ Industrial Designers Conference

Last night I caught the keynote address by Eames Demetrious at the annual western conference of the Industrial Designers Society of America. Below are notes and a write-up by Stephanie Munson who is also blogging the event for Core77.

Eames Demetrios Keynote - Industrial Designers Society of America Western Conference Keynote

“The audience packs into the main auditorium at Emily Carr and are eager and ready to kick-off the conference with our keynote speaker, Eames Demetrious, who is the grandson of Charles and Ray Eames and Director of the Eames Office (since 1993). He is here to talk about the legacy of Charles and Ray Eames, and begins by stating their connection to enduring design – it is simply because of the enduring nature of the Eames’ designs themselves. Hard to argue with that.

Begins with the Eames Office mission statement:
“To communicate, preserve and extend the work of Charles and Ray Eames.”

Some Works
During his presentation he shows a myriad of their works, including a lot of stuff many folks might be familiar with: the house of cards, their airport chairs, mathematica (exhibition design), moebius strip, dot pattern fabric (you’d know it, it’s from maharam), India Report (the report that established the foundation for the national institute of design in Ahmedabad), the Eames Lounge chair, their splints, various sculptural forms,their molded plywood chair, their films…and even (with an emphasis on the obscene in a way only designer can understand) some photos of obscene Eames furniture knock-offs.

Some Bit ‘O Background
Charles was born in St. Louis
Charles was trained as an architect.
Ray was trained as a painter.
Met at Cranbrook.
Married in Chicago.
Moved to LA.
Established a studio.

Good Charles Story
Particularly for those wanting to enter the profession, recent/upcoming graduates, or those designers who want a renewed emphasis on the types of design work you undertake. He tells a story about an 8 month trip to Mexico by Charles that served as an important trip for him in establishing his design philosophy and the types of design work he was to undertake. While in Mexico, he supported himself on the paintings that he did while he was there. This was an important time for him with an important realization that he could live and subsist on practically nothing. This made him realize that he couldn’t use the excuse of ‘making a living’ to prevent him from doing things that he didn’t believe in. Inspirational advice.

Some Quotes
“They never delegated understanding.”
“Take your pleasure seriously.”
“Innovate as a last resort.”
“If you want the design to flow from the material, you have to surrender to it.”
“The extent to which you have a design style, is the extent to which you have NOT solved the problem.”

Some Words I Was Left With
Experimental. Authenticity. From the material. Understanding the material. Enduring. Holistic. Experiential.

Lastly, I was left with…
Prototype. Prototype. Prototype.
Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.
Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.”