Her Grandfather’s ChairPosted November 30, 2014
Sarah Pease, a RISD graduate, working designer, and proud owner of an Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, shares her Eames perspective.
I began studying furniture design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2009, excited but a little weary to declare such a specific major. As a student, I was exposed to the history of the field, and fell in love with the industry-changing designs of the Eames duo. Their designs were innovative and intelligent, playful and functional. They had clearly spent their efforts on not only the forms of the furniture, but also on manufacturing processes and the market. I wanted everything I did as a designer to embody the spirit and refined consideration present in all of their work.
As I continued to learn about the famous couple, I realized that there was much more to their lives and practice that I admired. While their furniture is and always will be incredible, it was the story of Charles and Ray that truly struck a chord with me: Two designer/artists, each with their own unique backgrounds, working together to create amazing work no matter the medium–architecture, films, textiles, and of course, furniture. Their success across disciplines has been my constant inspiration for reaching out and exploring design in contexts other than the one in which I hold my degree. Charles and Ray helped me see that design is an approach to life, not just a career.
I have most certainly embraced that approach, and love to surround myself with objects and artwork that strongly align with my taste for authenticity and ingenuity. My most prized possession is an early ’80s Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman that lovingly belonged to my grandfather, until he graciously passed it on to me as a graduation gift. (If it isn’t clear by now, I have a really, really amazing grandfather.) What is even more exciting than being 23 years old and actually owning my all-time favorite chair is that the chair has history. It is not a particularly exciting or unusual history, but I love that fact. My grandfather bought the chair because it was the high-quality furniture he was used to from his younger days, a regular and expected piece. I am eager for the day when that is the case once again, when people buy thoughtful designs that are made in the USA because it is an obvious thing to do.
When I sit in my lounge with a cup of tea and a book on a Sunday morning, I imagine my grandfather doing the same years ago, and I can’t help but smile and feel connected to my own lineage. I can only hope to ever design an object that has the power to connect generations through such a simple act like sitting. I made the pilgrimage to the Eames House last summer with my best friend for Members Appreciation Day, and seeing the pure love present in every fiber of their home is a feeling that has stayed with me. The lifestyle of Charles and Ray and the work they created together have helped shape my views as both a designer and consumer, and have had an indelible influence on my current career as a do-it-all furniture/software/graphic designer and strategist.
Learn more about Sarah and her work by visiting her website.
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