I’m not sure how many of you caught it, but in this Monday’s post on shawl collars I threw in a half-serious/half-sarcastic line about Starsky & Hutch as style icons. The line popped into my head as one of those random thoughts that always seem to surface as I approach the end of post and began to feel slightly delusional, and so I hastily typed in there without even really remembering what Starsky and Hutch actually dressed like. For some reason though, the idea of Starsky & Hutch as style icons stuck with me, so a couple hours later I found myself sifting through screen caps and promo shots of the late seventies series, and I soon realized that my uneducated guess was actually spot on, at least to a certain extent.
Conversations about any form of design are often rife with tedious exaggerations but when it comes to Charles and Ray Eames, hyperbole is the only right way, as it’s really quite impossible to overstatement their influence on contemporary design (see there you go, hyperbole number one.) From that first day they opened their legendary studio in 1943 at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, California the Eames’ consistently reshaped what it meant to be an American designer. What began with a chair, the molded plywood Eames Lounge, grew into something so much greater. To say the Eames’ were merely a pair of furniture designers would be doing them a great disservice, they were architects, filmmakers, concept artists, toy-makers, and graphic designers. In a word they were visionaries, and their vision was balance, a subject that’s paramount but oft forgotten in design. Along the spectrum of design, between the cluttered and the minimal, the Eames’ knew how to hit that sweet spot and execute concepts that worked, not only on an aesthetic level, but almost more importantly on a practical one.