Omersa lion and Cressey
It was great to finally get to see the John Wills fiberglass shell in person. It's the sole surviving example of the first two Eames fiberglass shells ever made. This is pre-Zenith Plastics.
The recently acquired Eames-designed World's Fair kiosk is proudly on display. Mathematica will be installed close by. It's scheduled to be on permanent display beginning sometime in 2016. I was able to take a peek at it behind the scenes and it's pretty great.
I'd like to thank Kristen Gallerneaux, Curator of Communications and Information Technology and Marc Greuther, Chief Curator and Curator of Industrial Design for humoring this Eames nerd and making my trip to the Henry Ford a very special one.
There is a lot more than just Eames at the Henry Ford. They have an incredible technology and transportation collection. Take for instance, the Spirit of St. Louis. This is one of three reproductions used in the 1957 movie, Spirit of St. Louis. It was owned by the film’s star, Jimmy Stewart, who donated it to the Henry Ford in 1959.
OK, there's an Eames connection too. A St. Louis native and avid Lindbergh enthusiast, Charles Eames was a photographic consultant and was the second unit director for the film. His close friend Billy Wilder was the director. Charles was also involved in the design and construction of the planes used in the movie (Source: Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century By Pat Kirkham). Here is a photo of Charles on the set.
Here is JFK in the same limo on El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego, CA. This was in June of 1963. He was assassinated on November 22,1963.
This photo of the S. Charles Lee- designed State Theater (1940) was taken by John Margolies in the late 70s. It was just a few blocks away from where the the JFK photo above was taken. The theater was demolished in 1987. This was a common fate to many of his subjects. Read more about the State Theater here.
Roadside America: Through the Lens of John Margolies is an exhibition of recently-acquired photographs and ephemera collected over decades of documenting roadside architecture in America.
Here is a cell phone shot I took when I toured it last week. This post and beam structure with tongue in groove ceilings is in incredible original condition. Douglas Fir plywood panels and cork flooring are used throughout the house. So are the custom corrugated fiberglass lighting fixtures. The use of modest materials is what modern for the masses was all about and this application is amazing.
House flippers and anyone with thoughts of "updating" need not apply. The owners of the house are looking for the right caretakers to preserve this one owner gem. Modern San Diego will be hosting an open house Thursday, June 25 between 5-7 p.m. at 2524 44th Street, 92105.