Airbnb’s Co-Founder Funded a Nonprofit Dedicated to Charles and Ray Eames

Get ready for the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity

Eames chairs
A general view at The World of Charles and Ray Eames exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery at Barbican Centre on October 20, 2015 in London, England.
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Barbican Art Gallery

Decades after their heyday, people are still talking about — and being inspired by — the work and philosophy of Charles and Ray Eames. A 2020 article in The New York Times highlighted “their chairs, their dozens of experimental movies, or their famous house on the Pacific Ocean” as key elements of their collaborative work. But the full scope of their work remains vast, the subject of museum shows and biographical analyses.

And now, they’re getting a new nonprofit dedicated to their work — with the couple’s granddaughter Llisa Demetrios on board as chief curator. As a new article in Designboom points out, initial funding for the memorably named Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity comes from Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia.

The Eames Institute’s website offers more information on the project, which also incorporates a new magazine, Kazam!, named for the machine that was key to the look of some of their signature furniture.

In practice, this also includes everything from an in-depth online exhibition looking at the Eames’s lives and work to a working ranch that also houses an abundance of items created by the Eameses.

In a Kazam! article, the organization’s president and CEO, John Cary, explained the genesis of the project. “The Eameses’ vision remains relevant today for what it stirs within us; their work is compelling because they found in everyday objects and materials the inspiration to shape a new perspective, new forms, new purpose,” Cary writes. It has all the makings of a welcome resource for those who like their design and their theory to converge.

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