In His Words: Eames Demetrios
Eames Demetrios is a man who wears a lot of hats. Currently director of The Eames Office in Santa Monica, CA, he has raised the world’s awareness of the impact his grandparents, Charles and Ray Eames, have had on the fields of architecture, furniture, and visual design. As such, he has helped reintroduce classic pieces into the global market, aided in the restoration and subsequent release of his grandparents’ art-films, and worked closely with companies like Vitra and Herman Miller to ensure that all Eames furniture are made authentically. He was recently in the Philippines for the official opening of the CWC Interiors showroom in BGC where he gave a talk on his grandparents' legacy and the impact it has had on modern design.
But, in his own right, Demetrios has made a name for himself in various creative disciplines. He has penned several books, including the Discover Kymaerica Travel Guide that is linked to Kcymaerxthaere – a three-dimensional work of fiction that has been going on for over a decade, encompassing creative installations in numerous locations across the globe. His filmography includes more than 60 films and videos made over the past three decades, including the whimsical stop-motion short A Gathering of Elephants which was made in 2007 to commemorate the centennial of Charles Eames’ birth.
He is based in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. For more information, visit his official website.
Much of what people know about Charles and Ray Eames is limited to their work in design and architecture, so it comes as a shock to know that they were into other creative disciplines. Would you say that your grandparents were multi-hyphenates long before the term was coined up?
Absolutely! They had a holistic vision of design from the very beginning. There’s a letter that Charles wrote to Ray before they married, saying that they should move to California and make short films about art, architecture, and the honest use of materials.
[Designing the now-iconic LCW chair] was a game-changer for both the industry and [my grandparents.] But before that chair came out, they’d already made movies, toys, architectural exhibitions, and graphics.
Charles and Ray Eames were into sustainability long before it became the norm. Was this something they wanted to do, or did their financial circumstances have anything to do with it?
The thing that is important to know is that they didn’t achieve economic success until they designed the LCW chair in the ‘50s. So, I think there was a value part to it. But I also think that it was because, by nature, they weren’t wasteful people.
There are people who grew up with parents or grandparents who eventually became iconic artists. So, for you, what was it like growing up with Charles and Ray?
We didn’t know they were famous, but we knew they were special people. We didn’t have the experience of having famous grandparents – we had the experience of having incredible grandparents. Somehow, we thought they were just like everyone else. When [my siblings and I] visited their office, we’d find them working on a new exhibition; there were all these different things we would see; and there was so much stuff going on that it was a thrill to visit.
But, for me, it [didn’t hit me] until I went to college and I had a class where the professor did a presentation on The Eames House. And I told my professor, “Hey, that’s my grandparents’ house!” He admitted that he had seen my name in the class list and wondered if I had any relation to them.
My siblings are all older than me and I think they figured it out earlier. They went to the New York World’s Fair and they had a more dramatic and different experience of seeing how Charles and Ray made such a difference in the world.
They were great to be with; they were always present with you. Some adults talk to kids and then move on to something else; but not Charles and Ray. They were really present with us.