Photo courtesy of the Eames Foundation
In the year 2263, when everyone will live in shipping containers on floating cities or in algae-encrusted hydro-towers, the Eames House will seem like a remote jewel of mid-20th-century mechanized production. Or perhaps it will look like the beta version of everything smart that came after it. Either way, the Eames Foundation would like the house to still be standing in 250 years, luring architectural tourists in from San Francisco, which by that point will have been swallowed whole by the Los Angeles megaregion.
To preserve the house for the next ten generations of midcentury modern buffs, the foundation has launched a campaign to create a conservation fund of $150,000. (That's only $1.65 per day for the next 250 years!) To sweeten the bargain, the foundation commissioned the Atlanta-based agency Nebo to design limited-edition prints inspired by the simple geometry of the Eames House. At $75 a pop, the prints will help conservators seal the building envelope, preserve the original building materials, and develop a 250-year maintenance plan.
Interior of the Eames House. Photo courtesy of the Eames Foundation
Charles and Ray Eames built their home—a.k.a. Case Study House #8—in 1949, and they lived and worked there until their deaths in 1978 and 1988, respectively. Since then the property has been in the care of the Eames family and, beginning in 2004, the Eames Foundation, which Charles's daughter, Lucia Eames, created to preserve the place.
"The Eames House is over 60 years old and holding up quite well," says Eames Demetrios, chairman of the board of the Eames Foundation and a grandson of Charles and Ray. "However, we realized that in order to keep it that way, we needed to think over a much longer timescale." That effort will require "adopting a conservation approach more akin to taking care of a work of art," says Demetrios, and "distinguishing between the beauty of the patina of age and damage that threatens the house itself."
Campaign partners Vitra and Herman Miller—which currently produces Eames designs—are matching each $75 donation. As of this writing, the campaign has nudged just over $110,000. Here's where you can donate.
Photo courtesy of Genevieve Fong. Images of prints courtesy of Nebo.