On the Thursday, we drove a bit further South to the city of Weil am Rhein, where we visited the exhibition "An Eames Celebration". I had read about it months ago in my weekly paper.
The whole area of the Vitra Desgin Museum is worth seeing, even if you would not go into any exhibition - the architecture is unusual, quirky but functional at the same time, and in between the buildings along the connecting paths are sculptures and other works of art.
When we were there, though, we had limited time until the exhibition would close for the day, and the weather was not really in favour of a stroll across the area.
The exhibition was split into several parts, stretching across various buildings, the main part being about the life and work (actually inseperable) of Charles and Ray Eames.
So far, I had had the Eames' down mainly as designers of furniture. Everybody knows the famous Eames Lounge Chair, right? Also, most of their other chairs are well known and still very much in use all over the world.
I had had no idea, though, that the Eames' did so much more than design chairs: They built houses (for instance, their own house, which was very much a home filled with life, not a piece of architectural exhibition), made over a 100 films, designed toys, painted pictures and put together something called The Information Machine for IBM at the World Exhibition in New York in the 1960s. They worked with the government of India on educational projects and designed an exhibition about Nehru; they made covers of magazines and were good friends with Billy Wilder and his wife.
|Ray and Charles Eames at home|
In their approach to any of their many varied projects, they come across as open-minded, fun-loving and hard-working people; intensely interested in everything around them. I was truly impressed by the fullness of their lives and how much they foretook how we handle information nowadays, decades before the internet became reality.
Visiting the exhibition made me read up about the Eames', and I am definitely going to watch a few of their short films on youtube (the exhibition showed some, but we did not watch them all - not enough time!).
When I came across their "House of Cards" (a game designed for children and adults alike, with no winners and losers) in one of the rooms, I had a mini flashback; I am pretty sure that I saw those cards at some stage during my childhood. We probably did not have the game at home, but I might have seen it at someone else's home and maybe played with the cards there. Maybe my Mum knows?
It was a mind-opening afternoon for me, and I am glad O.K. and I went there. You can read more about the exhibition(s) (in English) and see pictures here.