Many of us in Silicon Valley spent the past holiday season reading/finishing up the Steve Jobs biography. The book is supposed to give us insight into the mind of Jobs and how he worked. As an addendum to the book and if you are keen on knowing more about how creatives think & work, I would urge you to find time and watch Eames: The Architect & The Painter, a documentary about Charles & Ray Eames, a husband & wife team of creatives who helped shape how postwar America saw itself. From furniture to data design to corporate messaging – they did it all.
And when you are watching the documentary, recall little details from the Jobs book and think about the similarities between the Eames and Steve. They both were very clear in distinguishing what is design and what is style. And more importantly both made simplicity their mantra. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott observes that “Like Walt Disney — and like Steve Jobs — Charles Eames did not share credit.”
The documentary (which is not really as visually spectacular in an Objectified sort of a way) is a window into the minds of two creative powerhouses whose contributions continue to shape society even now. Their concept of the Powers of Ten, a technique that is used on some random television show pretty much every day. The Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman are amongst the most coveted items of furniture even now and some day even I will buy them.
The documentary is currently being streamed on the PBS website (you do need Flash) and is also available on iPad app for PBS. Find time to watch this – this is the best way to spend 85 minutes, if you have them. Eames family is sharing their thoughts in a series of posts, that are recommended reading material. And here is some more viewing material from the Eames Office.