Archives for Charles and Ray Eames

Victoria and Albert Museum Celebrate the Legacy of Plywood

PLYWOOD is a versatile material with unique qualities which offers designers infinite possibilities for creativity. When steamed, curved and moulded plywood can be manipulated into curvaceous architectural forms or laser cut using the latest technology to create intricate lace-like tracery. Even plywood scraps can be re-purposed to make eco-friendly furniture pieces.

In celebration of this remarkable material, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London mounts Plywood: Material of the Modern World, a new exhibition which highlights the significance of plywood design this summer. Iconic designs of the twentieth century relating to architecture, furniture making and transport feature throughout the displays and bring to light the ground-breaking advances in plywood manufacture which include 19th century rotary cutting and the pioneering moulding techniques of the 1930s. Christopher Wilk, exhibition co-curator and Keeper of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the V&A, said, “Plywood is such a common, everyday material that most people barely notice when it is used. One could say that it has been hidden in plain sight.”

Victoria and Albert Museum, plywood, design, exhibition

Moulded plywood chair designed by Grete Jalk, 1963. Photograph courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

On display will be well-known furniture pieces by Alvar Aalto, Robin Day, Charles and Ray Eames and Grete Jalk, working drawings and a fascinating array of transport designs which include a plywood canoe, a 1960s racing car with a plywood chassis and a number of vintage skateboards.

Victoria and Albert Museum, plywood, design, exhibitionDrawing of Alvar Aalto designed Finnish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939-‘40.
Courtesy of Alvar Aalto Museum

An intriguing cluster of sculptural forms designed by Canadian-based company, Patkau Architects will be exhibited outside in the V and A’s John Madejski Garden. Cleverly constructed to withstand freezing temperatures, these plywood ice-skating shelters float on the frozen Winnipeg River and provide a welcome respite from the biting wind. Fixed to a timber frame, their flexible plywood sheets sway and creak with the elements.

Victoria and Albert Museum, plywood, design, exhibitionPatkau Architects, Ice skating shelters, Winnipeg, 2012, Courtesy of Patkau Architects


by Miranda Charalambous

Plywood: Material of the Modern World, sponsored by and supported by the American Friends of the V&A (AFV&A) opens from July 15 – 12 November 12, 2017 in the Porter Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7942 2000


Front page image: Patkau Architects, Ice skating shelters, Winnipeg, 2012, Courtesy of Patkau Architects







Rare Film Series Opens at The Museum of Arts and Design, New York


MAD, The Museum of Arts and Design in New York presents Midcentury Masters, a new series of rare films and documentaries showcasing the revolutionary work of post war architects and designers of the Twentieth Century. Reflecting on the lives of Harry Bertoia, Lina Bo Bardi, Charles and Ray Eames, Buckminster Fuller, the films pays tribute to their creative ways of working which still influence design thinking today.

600x400 EAMES-03Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter, 2011. Photograph © FirstRun Features

Harnessing wartime technologies and industrial materials such as wire mesh, plastics, aluminium and plywood these remarkable designers set about improving the lives of ordinary people with their innovative and, above all, functional styling.

Midcentury Masters highlights the extraordinary output of their work including creative ideas for living spaces, sleek furniture and ground-breaking geodesic structures. Abstract and experimental, these films have paved the way for the advancement of multimedia technologies today.

600x400 06-BERTOIAHarry Bertoia’s Sculpture, 1965. Photograph © FirstRun Features


by Miranda Charalambous

Front page image: Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter, 2011. Photograph © FirstRun Features

In conjunction with two exhibitions, Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound and Bent, Cast and Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia, Midcentury Masters runs from June 16 until June 30, 2016 at

Museum of Arts and Design 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019