Artifacts from the Eames Collection: Toys & Play by Eames Institute
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Petaluma. Eames Institute. 2023. First Edition, Imprint of 2000. Softcover in blue art paper w. a photographic short jacket wrap. Book Condition: New. 142pp. (ill. in colour & b/w)
In 1961, Charles Eames famously said, “Toys are really not as innocent as they look. Toys and games are the preludes to serious ideas.” For the Eameses, playing wasn’t just about having fun, but offered a means of approaching creativity through a new lens. Toys & Play, prepared in conjunction with the Eames Institute’s online exhibition of the same name, documents the many toys and games the couple amassed. In these toys, Charles and Ray saw designs that were free from self-consciousness on the part of the maker. These toys set out to be exactly what they purported to be: a kite must fly, a top must spin, a ball must bounce. In that sense, toys were a pure expression of design. Universality, purposefulness, demonstrable problem-solving, and delightfulness were certainly among the “serious ideas” that the Eameses sought to incorporate in all their work. This visual anthology is complemented by archival photographs and an essay by editor, author, and design historian Sam Grawe.