Your Eames Story Contest: Winning Entry

As we near the end of the internationally traveling exhibition, The World of Charles and Ray Eames, which has visited seven cities in three years, the Eames Office and Oakland Museum of California invited you to share how the design duo has impacted your life as part of our ongoing Your Eames Story series. Through the contest, we learned about the ways Charles and Ray have brought joy to your home, guided your work practice, and inspired you to produce a thoughtful, well-designed life. Thank you to all who participated! We are excited to announce that the winning entry is from Adam Weintraub and Mishi Hosono of New York, New York.

The Eames spirit is always guiding us

It would be hard to overstate the influence Charles and Ray Eames have had on our lives both personally as well as professionally. Short of moving to Santa Monica, we feel the Eames spirit is always guiding us. I had the good fortune to grow up on the campus of Cranbrook Academy of Art outside of Detroit and experience the joys of Eames designs from an early age. I took for granted that chairs should be beautiful, functional, and sometimes colorful. My wife was growing up on the other side of the world in Tokyo. But she spent her summers in LA and absorbed the Eameses’ optimism, which she combined with her love of traditional Japanese design.

When we met in architecture school, we subscribed to the Eames ideal that design can change lives. We filled our tiny first New York apartment with fiberglass Eames chairs discovered in a dumpster by a dentist’s office on Gramercy Park. Our first real paycheck went to buy an Eames Sofa Compact, and we thought we were the luckiest architects alive.

Years later when we got married, we searched and searched for a pastry chef who would make us a wedding cake in the shape of the Eames House. We learned a bit too late that Case Study Houses are better built from steel and glass than buttercream.

When we established our own Architecture studio, everyone advised us that we need to specialize in one building type. But we remembered Charles Eames warning against specialization. Keeping his words in mind, we have spent the last eighteen years designing everything from houses to playgrounds to children’s toys. Our first commission was a loft for a friend who instead of a design fee paid us with a low Eames bentwood chair. But perhaps we learned the most from the Eameses in taking our designs for children and children’s play very seriously.

We named our first daughter Rei (at least we used the Japanese spelling). But when it came to our second daughter, we chose an even shorter Japanese name, Io. But since her nickname is 10, we often just tell everyone “Rei is named after Ray Eames, and Io is named after the Powers of Ten.”

But sometimes it is the small things we have learned from the Eameses. Current trends in architecture tend to celebrate minimalism. But the personal collections filling the Eames House give us an excuse to fill our loft with favorite objects from around the world. Our Instagram ”aerial plan views” of our dinner table settings are Japanese versions of Ray’s careful compositions.

In keeping with the Eames method of slideshow communication, perhaps it is better to simply pair images to tell our Eames Story (see the gallery below).

Adam Weintraub, AIA
Mishi Hosono, AIA

Read more Eames stories or submit one of your own by writing to [email protected].

The World of Charles and Ray Eames is on view at its final stop, the Oakland Museum of California, through February 18, 2019. The show features nearly 400 works, including multimedia installations, films, rare prototypes, photography, furniture, toys, products, as well as personal letters, drawings, and artwork. See it before it closes!