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The World of Charles and Ray Eames

Woman walking through a room of chairs

Photography, film, architecture, exhibition-making, furniture and product design - experience design as a way of life thorough the work of two of the most influential designers of the 20th century

Enthusiastic and tireless experimenters, the husband and wife duo Charles and Ray Eames founded The Eames Office as a laboratory of ideas where, along with numerous  collaborators, they produced an array of pioneering designs. Communicating their projects with a boundless creativity that defined their careers, the Eameses embraced the joy of trial and error and approached design as a way of life.
From personal letters, photographs, drawings and artwork, to their products, models, multi-media installations and furniture, The World of Charles and Ray Eames included not only the designs for which they are best known, but provided an insight into the lives of the Eameses, the Eames Office and the breadth of their ground-breaking work across many fields, bringing their ideas and playful spirit to life.


‘Radical diversity fills the Barbican’s gallery with all manner of objects, including specially built room interiors and models, reformatted films as well as love letters between the dynamic couple‘
‘With over 380 works, you’ll see how they changed architecture, graphic art and – of course – interior design as a whole‘
‘The Eameses’ oeuvre really does assert a phenomenal influence on the way many of us live today‘
‘A comprehensive retrospective with a gorgeous range of objects and ephemera illustrating the Eames's astonishingly rich and productive life‘
The Spectator
‘An honest, insightful and multifaceted curation of the Eameses extraordinary catalogue, incorporating their best-loved design pieces, personal insights and the Eames Office‘
Decoist Architecture & Interior Design
‘As the cornucopian new exhibition at the Barbican confirms, as does a substantial and resplendent catalogue, their talent was prodigious and abundant‘
‘The show invites us to revisit their legacy while also getting some pretty good tips on how best to redecorate the living room‘


Photo of Eames exhibition

Watch: A Journey Through The World of Charles and Ray Eames

We fly through The World of Charles and Ray Eames exhibition, hearing from curator Catherine Ince, assistant curator Lotte Johnson and Eames Office director, Eames Demetrios as we tour the gallery space.

Photo of Eames chairs from above

Listen: Audio for Travelling To The World of Charles and Ray Eames

Travel to a place where design is a way of life with curator Catherine Ince and Lotte Johnson and director of the Eames Office, Eames Demetrios, alongside archive audio from the Eameses work.

Woman playing with a musical tower

Curator Picks: Musical Tower

Assistant Curator for The World of Charles and Ray EamesLotte Johnson, chooses one of her favourite works from the exhibition – the playful Musical Tower reaching from the main Gallery floor to the balcony in our Art Gallery

Woman watching a nature film

Curator Picks: Tanks

Exhibition Assistant Luke Naessens chooses one of his favourite works from The World of Charles and Ray Eames - a three-screen film slideshow, Tanks

Eames exhibition archictecture

Building Their World

How does an idea leave the page and arrive on our walls? We talk to The World of Charles and Ray Eames architects, 6a, about how they brought Charles and Ray Eames’ vision to life in the Gallery


The World of Charles and Ray Eames exhibition toured to:

Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden
17 Apr–5 Sept 2016 

Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), Lisbon, Portugal
5 Oct 2016–8 Jan 2017

C-Mine, Genk, Belgium
18 Feb–28 May 2017

Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
30 Sept 2017–25 Feb 2018

Upcoming venues include: 

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Detroit, USA
5 May–3 Sept 2018

With thanks