January 28, 2019

Your Eames Story Contest: Runner-up Entry

We are excited to announce that the runner-up entry was from E.B. Parker of Alfred, New York.

by OMCA Staff

In the final weeks of special exhibition, The World of Charles and Ray Eames, we invited you to tell us how Charles and Ray have impacted your life. Though the Your Eames Story Contest in collaboration with the Eames Office, we learned how Charles and Ray have brought inspiration and joy to generations. Thank you to all the participants. We are excited to announce that the runner-up entry was from E.B. Parker of Alfred, New York.

The Michel Collection

It’s hard for me to describe how I feel when I’m in the presence of an Eames chair. That may sound a little odd, I know, but my Eames story is not only one of passion for good design, but also one of love. I had been dating my boyfriend for just a few months when I was invited to his parent’s house for their annual Christmas Eve party. Before the Christmas Eve party though, my boyfriend had promised to take me to his grandma’s house to meet her for the first time. He had told me before of her home, but never in too much detail.

When we arrived, she greeted us at the door with open arms and promptly started giving me the grand tour of the house. A home, I later learned, that she and her late husband had designed and built together in the early 1950s. His grandma told me stories about each piece of furniture as we walked together through the house. The chairs they had acquired from Kodak’s old offices, the credenza that her husband had made for their china, the blackbird silhouette that hung in the window to deter birds from tapping on the glass.

Then, there it was: the Eames Lounge Chair. I had never seen one in person before. The worn-in leather, the layered grains of wood, the muted aluminum finishes, and it didn’t stop there. The Eames lounge lived amongst a World of Mid-Modern egos: an Eero Saarinen Womb Chair, a Bertoia Diamond Chair, two Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chairs, a George Nelson Platform Bench, a number of Eames Molded Plastic Chairs, and a full dining set of Eames Bikini Chairs. The entire home a carefully curated masterpiece, and I was allowed in. I had never seen anything so beautiful, yet so humble in my life.

You could say that this was the day I fell deeply in love with Charles and Ray Eames; you could also say that this was the day I fell deeply in love with my boyfriend of now four years. Looking back, it really was one of the most pivotal points in my life, and I am now fortunate enough to have a piece of the Michel Collection in my own home, the black Eames fiberglass shell pictured above. Everything in my home revolves around this chair. It lives and breathes with us, shaping to our lives as we grow, and for that, I will forever be grateful for my Eames story.

Dedicated to Stephen and Nancy Michel

E.B. Parker
Adjunct Professor of Architecture & Design, Alfred State College

Don't miss special exhibition The World of Charles and Ray Eames, now on view through February 18, 2019.

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