Monday, January 25, 2016

Five things that Charles & Ray teach us about play (2/5)

Charles and Ray often said that, “Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are the prelude to serious ideas.” One of their grandsons, Eames Demetrios, explained their love for toys with this story: “My brother once brought a Super Ball up to the house, and he promptly broke a third-story window with it—Charles thought this was an excellent proof of concept. He said, ‘This toy is gonna work.’”

The Eameses fascination with toys, and their belief in the importance of playing with them, is one of the many reasons that they designed their own. In 1951, they created The Toy (pictured above) to be enjoyed by people of all ages. This idea is exemplified by the text on the instruction sheet:

The Toy is designed for many colorful hours of fun for the whole family, and each member can share and enjoy The Toy in his own way.
The baby as a bright world to grow in–
The small child as houses and tunnels and tents to play in–
The boys and girls as towers, puppet theaters, large and exciting structures–
The high school age as brilliant party decorations, plays and pageant sets–
In college as campus and house decorations, fantastic and brilliant hanging objects
to hover over a junior prom–
Young men and women, clubs, civic organizations, floats and festivals–
The Toy gives each one the means with which to express himself in big structures
and brilliant colors.

Creating a playful experience that everyone could benefit and learn from was a common theme throughout Charles and Ray’s work.