Eames Contract Storage (ECS) is a system of storage, study, and sleeping units that the Eames Office designed in 1961 to provide all of the furniture needed in a dormitory or institutional residence.
The ECS had five parts: Three closet variations, one desk unit, and a bed. The elements could be combined in a variety of ways. The design featured extensive detailing, such as door handles made of solid, polished aluminum, extruded aluminum strips that formed the door hinges, and solid-core birch doors.
Many colleges installed ECS units in their dorms, including Purdue University, Southern Illinois University, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The design proved to be a very effective solution to the problem of dormitory furnishings, but sales declined when federal support for such facilities was pulled, and as more students began living off campus.
To support sales, the Eames Office made a film entitled ECS. It is for the narration of this animated film that Charles and Ray wrote: “The details are not the details, they make the product just like the details make the architecture. The gauge of the wire, the selection of the wood, the finish of the castings–the connections, the connections, the connections. It will be in the end these details that provide service to the customers, and give the product its life.”
The entire text of this film narration can be found in the book An Eames Anthology.