Eames House Celebrates Author Gloria Koenig

A plastic brontosaurus rex peeks out playfully from the potted plants flanking the office of the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, a testament to the playfulness of those who once lived there.  This month it was witness to the hundreds of fans of local architecture and art traversing the grounds to honor a book about those inhabitants. The landmark house and office Charles and Ray Eames called home were open for the debut of author Gloria Keonig's book 'Eames:  1907-1978, 1912-1988, Pioneers of Mid-Century Modernism.'

South side of Eames House

The husband and wife architectural team of Charles and Ray Eames are best known to the general public for their furniture, however they are forerunners in the fields of architecture, industrial design, photography and film.  With more than 224 designs for furniture, toys, exhibitions, films, graphics, and architecture developed over a 45-year collaboration, Charles and Ray Eames set a standard for design excellence.

Koenig's book covers all aspects of their careers from what publisher Taschen calls 'the earliest furniture experiments and molded plywood designs to the Case Study Houses to their work for Herman Miller as films such as the seminal short, Powers of Ten.'

Author Gloria Koenig signs her book "Eames"

The house and yard had a certain solemnity bathed in the moodiness of an unusually cool, foggy day.  A mist rose up from the beach far below, allowing the brightness of the occasional colored walls of the place their due without competition from the sun. 

The house was not open that day, and is only opened for special occasions.  'The tiles and textiles are all fragile, one of the guides explained.  'Even when I stay here, I never sit on anything.'

The big Eames table, however, and open stairway over the second level above the galley-style kitchen could be viewed through the familiar garage-style glass panes with chicken wire inside.

Visitors queue up in the south meadow of the Eames property awaiting an audience with the author

Fans of both author and architects queued for several hours on the eucalyptus leaf-strewn yard to obtain a signed copy of the book.

'They started at 11:30 and just kept coming!' Koenig exclaimed, describing how her afternoon of signing had gone.  The author sat outdoors at a table- near to frozen- until every visitor had been received and gotten an autograph.  That was well past 3:00 p.m., an hour later than the assigned signing schedule.

Yet more visitors queuing up in the meadow

Koenig has written extensively in the field of architecture for books and nationally recognized publications including the Los Angeles Times.  Her other titles include 'Iconic LA, Stories of LA's Most Memorable Buildings.'  She is currently working on a documentary about her late husband, modernist architect Pierre Koenig.   She tells me she is also beginning work on a book that will merge two of her passions:  animals and homes.  Can't wait to see'

West side of Eames house nestled into hillside

Text and Photos copyright 2006 M.D. Caprario

'Eames,' Peter Gossel, Editor, Taschen Publishing

Editions:
Dutch: 3-8228-5199-X (May 2006)
English: 3-8228-3651-6 (November 2005)
French: 3-8228-3650-8
German: 3-8228-2869-6 (November 2005)
Spanish: 3-8228-2870-X (November 2005)

List Prices:
USD 9.99 | GBP 4.99 | EUR 6.99 | JPY 1500.00

Visiting the Eames House 
(This information taken from the Eames Foundation web site:  www.eamesfoundation.org.)
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
You are welcome to visit the Eames House for an external, self-guided visit (this means there is NO entry into the House or Studio) any day Monday through Friday with the exception of holidays between the approximate hours of 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. Once you decide on a day and time, please let us know a few days in advance and we will put you on the calendar. To schedule an appointment, please call 310.459.9663.
ADMISSION
Admission is free to student with current valid IDs, seniors (62+), and children under 12 years of age. As of November 1, 2004, there is a suggested contribution/donation of $5.00 per person.
FREEWAY:
Pacific Coast Highway heading north towards Malibu intersects with Chautauqua Boulevard at the third traffic light. Make a soft right up the hill. Approximately 30 seconds later, on your left you will see a private driveway marked 203/205. About 5 seconds past that driveway you will see a street named Corona Del Mar. Make a left. You need to park on Corona Del Mar and walk down to the driveway marked 203/205. The Eames house is at the very absolute end of this driveway.


Pacific Coast Highway heading south away from Malibu intersects with Chautauqua Boulevard. Make a soft left up the hill. Perilous, but possible. Approximately 30 seconds later, on your left you will see a private driveway marked 203/205. About 5 seconds past that driveway you will see a street named Corona Del Mar. Make a left. You need to park on Corona Del Mar and walk down to the driveway marked 203/205. The Eames house is at the very absolute end of this driveway.

 

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