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Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011)Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011)

           This isn't a great film, but its subject matter is so fascinating that it's well worth watching — the design duo of Charles Eames (an architect) and his wife Ray (a painter), who together were the single most influential industrial artists in the America of their generation. In the post war era of the 1940s they shaped and in turn reflected America's emerging suburban middle class values, especially through their mass-produced Eames Chair, done in conjunction with Herman Miller Furniture, some form of which is still in almost every house and building (cf. airport seating). "We wanted to make the best for the most for the least," was their lifelong mantra. From 1943 to 1988 their design studio in Venice, California was "one of the most creative addresses on earth." Chairs were only the beginning; there were toys, 150,000 splints for the military, photography, national exhibitions, and especially films for dozens of corporate clients, like The Information Machine: Creative Man and the Data Processor (1957) done for IBM to "humanize" the computer. Actor James Franco narrates this film, which incorporates interviews with curators, critics, historians, designers, Eames studio employees, a few family members, and biographer Pat Kirkham. Charles Eames died in 1978 of a heart attack, while Ray died ten years later to the day in 1988. I watched this film on Netflix streaming.

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