Surprisingly there isn’t a great deal to be found on the background of the wonderful tables Charles and Ray created. To look at them we can surmise that they wanted them to be able to perform, but at the same time, have a genuine and simple classic appeal.
The single segmented base tables were designed and manufactured from 1964 and took their inspiration from the conference room. Functionality was crucial as ever and practicality always won versus attractiveness. Clean lines are commonplace throughout all Eames tables regardless of whether their anticipated destination was to be the conference room or a family lounge.
In an old vintage photo of the couple’s lounge you can see Eames coffee tables on display as a regular part of their family life. In fact, Eames products are everywhere. They were obviously proud of their work and celebrated the work of others.
A vintage photograph of Charles and Ray Eames. (Source: The New York Times)
Ray Eames once said that, ‘What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.’ Durability mattered then and it still matters. The type of people who aspire to own Eames furniture are not those who subscribe to the throw-away culture of consumerism. They are those that want their homes and offices to say something about who they are and what they admire. They value quality, simplicity and maybe even function over form, with the long-term view of investing in items that will last a lifetime.
There are a range of different tables made from different materials. There is the classic plywood collection made with either wooden or metal legs, as well as the single segmented base tables, perhaps with more of a professional edge, incorporating tops that are made from veneer, melamine, beech or walnut. These segmented base tables came with a four-star base, which can be fitted with castors to suit the intended context within which the piece is housed. The modular units support tops of different lengths and widths so as to increase usability in multiple and varying arenas.
These tables do not look out of place in homes or in boardrooms (the latter preferably surrounded by Eames office chairs!). One might be a suitable centre-piece for the lounge; the setting for a candle lit dinner for two, or maybe the companion to a co-worker in the midst of a business deal. Whatever place it may take, an Eames table belongs right at the heart of the room it’s within, serving those surrounding it with serious aplomb.