The Ray and Charles Eames archive has a new home and gallery space in the Bay Area

The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity

The Ray and Charles Eames archive has a new home and gallery space in the Bay Area

La Chaise chair by Ray and Charles Eames at their Venice Beach studio circa 1948 (smow blog/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Since its founding in 2022, The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity has hosted the collection of Ray and Charles Eames, two designers that took the art world by storm with their industrially-manufactured furniture and architecture. For the first time ever, the ephemera from the Eames’s office at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, California is now on display under one roof: at the Eames Institute’s new headquarters in Richmond, California.

The new headquarters has a Gallery, Collections Center, and Archives Study Center. Its mission is showcasing the Eames’s extensive output and belongings, curators said, while giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look into Charles and Ray’s personal lives. Cumulatively, the Institute holds over 40,000 artifacts including prototypes, products, tools, and personal items owned and loved by Ray and Charles. The Institute’s design was in collaboration between curators and Standard Issue, a Brooklyn-based design studio.

The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity displays over 40,000 artifacts. (Courtesy Eames Institute)
“It’s such a pleasure to expand the reach of the Eames Institute and further share the Collection with even more people” said Llisa Demetrios, chief curator of the Eames Institute, and granddaughter of Ray and Charles Eames. “The Eames Archives is so special to me because it holds the things my grandparents loved and cherishedit’s an absolute joy to finally be able to share these pieces in this way.”

The space centralizes prized possessions from the Eames archive like mass-produce furniture they designed, unique prototypes like their famous splints for disabled war veterans, and personal ephemera like private correspondences. The duo’s Molded Plywood Seat (1942); Airplane Stabilizer (1943); a Plywood Sculpture that the Eames displayed in 1944 at MoMA’s 15th anniversary exhibition Art in Progress: Design for Use will all be on view.

The Eames Institute offers guided tours of their collection. (Courtesy Eames Institute)

Also on display will be the fake architecture diploma that artist Saul Steinberg awarded Charles Eames. (Charles studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis but never finished his degree.) In Steinberg’s bootleg Wash U diploma, he recognizes Charles’s fake academic achievements rendered in complete gibberish, the curators said.

Ticketed visitations of the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity will open on February 14.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described Washington University in St. Louis as “UWash.” It was revised on February 5, 2024 to describe it as “Wash U.”