Eames: Leg Splint & A Highly Important and Unique Plywood Sculpture

“Eventually everything connects,” says Charles Eames. “People, ideas, objects. the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” For designers (and mid-century power couple) Charles and Ray Eames, play meant connection, both in terms of their own collaboration as well as the collaboration between their works and their respective audiences.

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Sure, many of the Eames pieces we know as such today are practical — chairs, recliners, coat racks — but they’re also curved, flexible, and there’s a sense of joy. Even when designing a lightweight leg splint for the U.S. Navy in World War II, there's a sense of beauty in the artistry of the museum-quality piece and you can sense that some element of play made its way into the ideation process. A Highly Important and Unique Plywood Sculpture comes from the same year, and (much like the Eames leg splint) exemplifies the collaboration of Ray's signature curves (aptly described on the Eames Office site as "serpentine") and eye for graphic design with Charles's sense of architecture and craftsmanship.

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When we consider ourselves on the whole, we have to remember our sense of humor. Even depression, as one of my favorite podcasts notes, is funny. There’s a natural joy, a state of play in reality. Taken together, we can see both the joy of reality in the leg splint, and the reality of joy in the sculpture.

Today’s Contemplation

What small aspects of your day can be infused with play and joy? What would it look like to inject some humor into some of your more mundane or even difficult tasks?