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Eames: The Architect and the Painter – review

This documentary about the famous designers celebrates a unique kind of American creativity that anticipates the digital age

This documentary by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey celebrates a unique kind of American creativity. Charles Eames, in underacknowledged partnership with his artist wife, Ray Eames, created a design studio in the mid-20th century in Venice, California. It was not merely a question of their classic Eames chair. They worked in almost every field of art, architecture and design; acting like an ad agency, they accepted commissions from big corporations like IBM to produce idiosyncratic promotional films that humanised their sponsors and look now like the most earnest but entertaining instructional movies liable to be shown in US high schools. The most celebrated of these is Powers of Ten (1968), a 9-minute animation about relative scale starting with an overhead shot of a sunbathing couple, zooming out progressively into space and then back into a micro-cosmos of molecules and atoms – it brilliantly anticipates Google Earth. Eames's spirit lives on in the careers of Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs.

Rating: 3/5 © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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