Charles and Ray first met Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru when he invited them to travel throughout India—a trip that led the Eameses to document their findings in the 1958 India Report. They were impressed by the extent of his interests as well as the scope of his vision for the country’s future. Shortly after Nehru’s death in 1964, his daughter, Indira Gandhi, commissioned the Eames Office to plan a posthumous tribute that could be seen both nationally and internationally.
The exhibition highlighted Nehru’s early life and marriage, his work on behalf of Indian independence, and his relationship with British and Indian leaders both before and after he became the state’s first prime minister.
The Eameses organized the exhibit in India with students of the National Institute of Design at Ahmedabad (established at Charles and Ray’s recommendation). Although it would have been easier to assemble the show in California, they felt that the project offered a wonderful opportunity to collaborate on something of mutual interest.
The construction of Nehru incorporated cost-cutting solutions to insure the exhibition’s travel worldwide. This included the use of refillable sandbags (disguised as plush Indian cushions) to secure the exhibition’s interpretive panels—a constraint that reduced weight, thereby reducing expensive shipping expenses.
Click here to see some of the graphics designed for this exhibition by the Eames Office.