Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Eameses?

I don’t know what to do with this book. The Story of Eames Furniture, by Marilyn Neuhart with John Neuhart (Gestalten, 2010), is a labor of love, a two-part, richly-illustrated history of some of the most famous modern chairs in the world. To reject it seems harsh. It contains fascinating tales of false starts and under-known design careers, what could be a separate book of clever mid-century magazine covers, furniture catalogs, and abstract photographic odes to mass-production. And yet I was unable to enjoy it. It is the kind of book that the design blogs love, picking out 10 fabulous images, glorying in its heft entirely in the abstract. Another chance to cite the Eameses! But as a real thing and as a work of history, it is less than the sum of its pages.