Midcentury modern design lovers in the Bay Area have a new pilgrimage spot with the opening of the Eames Archives this month.
The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity is behind the new gallery, store and collection space. The headquarters has shared its vast collection of furniture, objects and drawings with the public for the very first time, offering a complete overview of Ray and Charles Eames’s expansive practice at the new Eames Archives.
The building is located in Richmond and is freshly refurbished. Much of the institute’s collection – previously held at the Eames Office at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice – is consolidated under one roof, bringing together 40,000 artefacts, including prototypes, products, tools, and personal items belonging to the design couple.
‘The Eames Archives is so special to me because it holds the things my grandparents loved and cherished – it’s an absolute joy to finally be able to share these pieces in this way,’ says Llisa Demetrios, chief curator and granddaughter of Ray and Charles Eames.
Highlight displays include the prototype aeroplane parts the Eames developed for the US Navy in 1943, made using the Eames process of moulded and laminated plywood bent into aerodynamic forms; handmade prototypes of their famous moulded plywood seat (1941); and one of two large-scale moulded plywood sculptures the couple exhibited in 1944 at MoMA’s 15th-anniversary exhibition.
Public guided tours of the archives, led by Demetrios, are booking now and will commence on 14 February 2024. Tickets (which cost $86 for general admission; concessions available) will be released on the first of each month for tours the following month.