Monday, June 22, 2015

Exclusive interview with Daniel Ostroff, author of "An Eames Anthology" (part #2)

(part #1 was published Friday, June 19)

Andrea Terranova (Eamesiana):
Today, is there an heir of the Eames ?

Daniel Ostroff:
The Eames grandchildren continue the work of the office, with regard to overseeing the production of authentic Eames furniture worldwide, and a vigorous program of exhibitions, devised "to communicating, preserving, and extending the work of Charles and Ray Eames. 

Last year, the Eames Office collaborated on two major museum exhibitions focused on the life and work of Ray Eames:

Next, they are collaborating on this show, at the Barbican, to open in October in London:

In which design stance today designers (especially young designers) can translate the eamesian's values?

One answer to this question can be found in the text, "Advice for Students," specifically this passage

Prepare yourself to search out the true need – Physical
Prepare yourself to intelligently fill that need
the art is not something you apply to your work
the art is the way you do your work, a result of your attitude toward it
design is a full time job
                                    it is the way you look at politics
                                                                                     funny papers
                                                                                     listen to music
                                                                                     raise children

When I talk with young architecture students who tell me they want to design a chair, I ask them "Why? Does the world really need more chairs?"
When Charles and Ray dedicated themselves to furniture, there was no Ikea. Over time, Charles and Ray did many useful things, not just furniture. This is a real lesson to today's young people.
I wish that today's young designers would "search out the true need(s)" of our time, and apply themselves to solving them.

What would be your pet item in their catalogue?

Are you asking me for my favorite one of their works? I would have to say, at this point, their ideas, the texts in this book. In their words, and in their ideas, they provide guidance for today and tomorrow.

Do you plan to continue working on the Eames in the future? Maybe a movie?

I will continue to consult for the Eames Office and I do a biweekly blog for them, called "The Details"
You can read several here:

I am also working on creating a lot of pages illustrating Eames furniture history on the site.
I am a film producer, and I apply the Eames lessons to my work in film. Making a movie that will connect with an audience should be done with care and attention to detail.
When I work with writers and directors, I often think of this remark by Charles, which is in the handwritten texts on page 149 I believe.
“To know so well what you want to accomplish that there is no pressure to be original—this is a desirable state whether one is designing a toy or writing a play or building a chair.”

You can read about some of my films here under the Daniel Ostroff Productions heading.

Thanks to Carol Eisner - book publicist for Yale University Press - we published the exclusive interview that Daniel Ostroff granted to Eamesiana blog. Ostroff is the author of An Eames Anthology (Yale University Press, 2015, 420 pp., ISBN 978-0-300-20345-5 $50.00, available at bookstores, through online booksellers, at, or by calling Triliteral Customer Service at 1-800-405-1619).

Images: courtesy Rob Payne via