Quoted: Charles + Ray Eames

Posted on by Lauren Moss

The legacy of Charles and Ray Eames has been a source of inspiration for countless designers and architects for over 60 years, ourselves included. 

Married on June 20, 1941, the partnership between 'the Architect and the Painter' resulted in iconic designs, many of which are still in production today, and shaped the development of modernism in Southern California. Their relationship continues to serve as an example of how a collaborative approach to life and work enables innovation and creativity.

With a philosophy that still resonates decades later (and one we're reminded of every day at our own office, as seen above), the couple valued exploration and experimentation, incorporating new technologies and processes along with a sense of playfulness in their architecture, furniture, films and exhibitions.


While the 'uncommon beauty of common things' informed their approach to design and communication, the importance placed on authenticity, function, enjoyment and experimentation is best conveyed in their own words...

On Design:

  • Definition of good design: an object is well-designed where the relationship of the part to the part and the part to the whole shall appear inevitable. -C
  • Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem- the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible- his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints. -C

On Function:

  • What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts. -R
  • "Appropriate" is Charles's word, which I love. If it's "appropriate", it works. If you can say "best," it might mean the most expensive, or fine, but if it's "appropriate," it works for the job. -R

On Practice:

  • Any time one or more things are consciously put together in a way that they can accomplish something better than they could have accomplished individually, this is an act of design. -C
  • We worked very hard at that- enjoying ourselves. We didn't let anything interfere with what we were doing- our hard work. That in itself was a great pleasure. -C

View more images of Case Study House #8 at our Eames House photo gallery and find more quotations, along with the objects and ideas that inspired them, at our post on last year's A+D exhibit EAMES Words.

Also, stop by to view a great interactive timeline of 'a house and a household name'.