Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great Gifting: Classic Design

You no doubt already know about the powerful and sometimes whimsical work of Charles and Ray Eames (above), the husband-wife team who did so much to promote the ethic of humanistic modernism in the middle of the 20th Century. Known for their groundbreaking work in furniture design, architecture, industrial design and photographic arts, they were at the epicenter of the post-war changes that were taking place in this country.

Among the first to take a multidisciplinary approach to design, they created more than one hundred short films between 1950 and 1962. A curated selection of 35 of their most famous films have been collected in a six-volume set, including the amazing Powers of Ten. To quote one review: "Thought provoking, inspirational, beautiful and poetic, the films featured in this collection reveal their full creative vision." Having seen many of them myself, I can heartily agree. Available at Canoe, a design store downtown (or by ordering online at their website), this is a great gift for the design or film buff in your house.

Also at Canoe is another Eames classic, their House of Cards. Created in 1952, each card has a different image of what the designers called the "good stuff," that is, "familiar and nostalgic images from the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms." With six slots in each card, they can be stacked in an infinite variety of ways to create structures that are sometimes startling and always thought-provoking. It's available in two sizes, the smaller one being a perfect stocking stuffer.

Details: Canoe, 1136 SW Alder. Phone 503-889-8545.

Check out the other gift suggestions in the series: Book by Book, Class Acts, Not Dead Yet! (food magazines you'll love) and Giving From the Heart.

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