How To Shop for the Holidays Posted December 12, 2015 by Daniel Ostroff

Many of us are looking for the perfect holiday gift. This season we offer up some advice from Charles and Ray Eames, who, in addition to being great designers, were also astute shoppers.


Charles and Ray didn’t leave any texts specific to shopping, but we think they’d agree that their “Lota text,” an excerpt from their India Report, can be used as a reliable guide to their thinking when they selected objects to gift.

Ray Eames once said that the Eames process involved “the consideration of everything.” The reality of that statement is well revealed in the extensive list of design constraints in this text. Charles and Ray listed more than forty factors, both practical and emotional, that define a well made and useful design. It’s a checklist that all designers and architects would do well to consider.

Their concluding words are:

How pleasant does it feel, eyes closed, eyes open?

How pleasant does it sound, when it strikes another vessel, is set down on ground or stone, empty or full – or being poured into?

What is the possible material?

What is its cost in terms of working?

What is its cost in terms of ultimate service?

What kind of an investment does the material provide as product, as salvage? How will the material affect the contents, etc., etc.?

How will it look as the sun reflects off its surface? How does it feel to possess it, to sell it, to give it?

Here is link to the Eames_Lota text in its entirety. Download or print it and take it with you to use as a shopping guide this season.

 Happy holidays from the Eames Office!