There is a tradition that is held in common by natural philosophers, explorers, pioneer woodsmen—anyone who in his daily life has been compelled to face new problems. That is a tradition of respect and concern for the properties and the quality of everything in the world around them.

Charles Eames

Charles and Ray Eames were, above all else, technical innovators. They were driven by the desire to bring good design to many people through ground-breaking advances in manufacturing. The laminated plywood splint, a commission for the U.S. Medical Corps in 1942, became the cornerstone for the process of making form-fitted seating as the war ended and demand for furniture skyrocketed. Their genius for problem-solving and commitment to architectural ideals led to the development of the Eames Storage Unit bookshelves, constructed of off-the-shelf, inexpensive, readily available materials, a practice evident throughout their famous Santa Monica residence.  —Mark McDonald