Show of Shows: Open House - Los Angeles magazine

Show of Shows: Open House

An L.A. legend relocates to the Miracle Mile


As part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Pacific Standard Time show California Design, 1930 to 1965: “Living in a Modern Way,” the living room of Charles and Ray Eames’s Case Study House #8 is being re-created in the Resnick Pavilion. A masterpiece of midcentury modernism, the couple’s Pacific Palisades home has remained largely unaltered since they built it in a bluff-top meadow in 1949. The Eames Foundation agreed to allow the home’s contents to be moved for the exhibition while maintenance is performed on the structure. Because tours of the home’s interior are infrequent, the show marks a rare opportunity for a close-up. Eames Demetrios, the grandson of Charles and Ray, offers some details: 

Thonet chair: “The design dates from the late 1800s, early 1900s. That chair was as much a breakthrough in mass production as the Eames molded plywood chair was years later. They admired it as an object and a chair.” Bookcase: Freestanding, it’s made of wood and aluminum. “The board at the back of each shelf is loose so that you can move it if your books are deeper.” Artwork: A photograph of a Franz Kline painting. George Nelson lamp: “George Nelson was of course a good friend of theirs. He was the head of design at Herman Miller. He was the one who saw the Eames show at the Museum of Modern Art and told Miller that this was the future of his company.” Balcony: “Their bedroom is up there. They used sliding panels as a way to offer privacy and give flexibility.” Tumbleweed: “They collected that on their honeymoon.” LACMA is using a stand-in. Built-in sofa: “The seat is extremely low and gives you this great perspective out toward the meadow.” LACMA is using a reproduction. Coffee table: “They made it especially for themselves in the early ’50s. It’s gold leaf on top of brass with wooden dowel legs.”  Pillows: The pillows were a gift from their friends Amanda Dunne and her husband, Philip, who wrote the screenplay for How Green Was My ValleyBird: “They obtained it in the 1940s. We believe it was Appalachian in origin and a decoy of some kind.” Floor: LACMA is re-creating the floor with vinyl tiles; the original linoleum in the Palisades will be replaced during the exhibition as the house undergoes other repairs. » California Design, 1930 to 1965: “Living in a Modern Way” runs from October 1 through March 25. 

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