Llisa Demetrios on the future of Eames Archives and applying to AN’s Best of Products Awards

Llisa Demetrios is perhaps best known as the youngest granddaughter of Ray and Charles Eames, but she’s also a sculptor, former archivist at MoMA, founder of The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, and an educator preserving the teachings of her grandparents’ creative legacy. This year the multihyphenate led the Institute in opening a new headquarter in Richmond, California, called Eames Archives, which displays all sorts of ephemera from the Eames office for the first time.

Demetrios brings this design expertise to AN’s Best of Products Awards as one of the 2024 judges alongside Andre Herrero, Jimmie Drummond, Lisa Iwamoto, Brian Messana, Carrie Norman, and AN editors. We spoke with Demetrios to hear more about the future of the Institute and her advice for applying to Best of Products before submissions close on July 12, 2024 by midnight E.T.

Llisa Demetrios conducts tours of the Eames Institute. (Courtesy Eames Institute)

AN: Eames Archives launched earlier this year. How does this physical space further the Institute’s missions?

Llisa Demetrios (LD):  Opening the Eames Archives in our new space in Richmond has offered an unprecedented opportunity to explore the entire Eames universe—industrial design, graphics, prototypes, correspondence, tools, textiles, photographs, furniture, exhibitions, films, and toys that Ray and Charles created and collected—under one roof!

A home to a working collection overseen by a team of on-site specialists, the space also offers a behind-the-scenes look at the daily activities involved in preserving this cultural legacy.

AN: How does this coincide the overall evolution of the Eames Institute thus far? Where do you see its future headed?

LD: Opening the Eames Archives in Richmond has been a major turning point for the Eames Institute and will enable us to better and more directly share the Eameses’ legacy and lasting influence. The Institute’s new Richmond location will act as a permanent space for the public to experience the Eames Collection firsthand even when the Eames Ranch reopens in the future. It offers an expansive view of the duo’s practice and includes materials ranging from mass-produced furniture designs and unique one-of-a-kind prototypes to personal ephemera and private correspondence.

Being able to share the legacy of Ray and Charles in multiple ways, to showcase their incredible process and wide-angled vision of design, is the dream of a lifetime and the continued goal of the Institute. Their boundless curiosity and relentless pursuit of solving problems in furniture, film, exhibits, architecture, and textiles is reflected in the (extended) name of the Institute, and I am so excited that we are now able to share their legacy with the world. With the opening of our Richmond space, the Institute continues to aspire to be a home for curious problem-solvers, both on-line and on-land. I hope the Institute’s efforts will help people find inspiration for solving problems in their own world.

furniture on shelving
At the Eames Institute, iconic designs are organized and displayed (Courtesy Eames Institute)

AN: What advice do you have for those applying to the awards? 

LD: Take what we can learn from Ray and Charles’s design process: put away preconceived notions; be hands on; let the designs come from the learning; discover what a material can and cannot do; prototype and iterate; let one solution to a problem inform the next solution; test your ideas in real life.

“The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests,” said Charles Eames. “The details are not the details. They make the product. It will in the end be these details that give the product its life.”

AN: What are the types of things you’re looking for in Best of Product submissions?

LD: Questions that I would be asking and what I would be looking for are: Does the product address a need? What problem is being solved? Does the product use sustainable materials or incorporate circularity? What are the constraints for producing this product?

As Ray and Charles Eames said, “We don’t do art. We solve problems.”

Best of Products submissions are open until July 12, midnight ET. Learn more about eligibility, see the full list of categories, and start applications here.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top