After high school, Charles Eames won an architecture scholarship to Washington University in St Louis.
He was offered a fellowship to study architecture and design at Cranbrook Academy by Eliel Saarinen. There, Charles forged a friendship with his son Eero, with whom he won the 1940 Museum of Modern Art Organic Furniture Competition.
Bernice Alexandra Kaiser, nicknamed Ray, enrolled at Cranbrook in 1940, where she met Charles Eames. He and Ray married in 1941.
In 1942 they started a collaborative effort with Harry Bertoia and Gregory Ain, producing sculpture, chairs, screens, tables and toys. George Nelson, head of design at Herman Miller, convinced others at the company to put some of these pieces into production. The Eames plywood designs combined an elegant organic aesthetic with a love of materials and technical ingenuity. After plywood, the Eames Office focused on other materials by creating furniture in fiberglass, plastic, aluminium and, for the iconic 1956 Lounge Chair, opulent leather and plywood. Their collaboration with Herman Miller continued and extended to Vitra, its European partner.